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St. Aloysius, when about 17 years and a half. 

Trom an oil painting by an unknown maste. of -he School of Paul Verc 
- .(Cagliari). The picture is in St. Aloysiu, Cappelletta in the Jesuit L- 










Arms of the Gonzagas of Castlglione. 
(Over the door of S. Aloysius Church, Castiglione.) 






Cum Patris Frederic! Schroeder S. J. germanica versio operis, cui 
titulus: Vita di San Luigi Gonzaga d. C. d. G. del P. Virgilio Cepari, 
rite fuerit recognita et approbata, facultatem concedimus, ut typis mande- 
tur, si ita iis, ad quos pertinet, videbitur. 

Romae, die II. mensis Februarii a. 1891. 

Rogerius Freddi, S. J. 

Praep. Prov. Provinciae Roraanae. 









Preface by the Editor. 

lengthened sojourn in Italy has given special facilities to 
Father Frederick Schroeder to prepare the elaborate edition 
of Father Cepari s well known biography, which is now 
introduced to the English-speaking public. With the 
thoroughness, which is the characteristic of German research, he has 
pushed his enquiries into entirely original sources; and has obtained 
access to authorities which had never been opened either to the Bollandists, 
or to any later writer of the life of S. Aloysius. 

Little has therefore been left for the editor of the English version, 
save to superintend the translations, the work in great part of kind 
friends, to re -write a chapter on the miracles of the Saint, in place of 
that of Father Cepari, to make a few slight additions to the notes and 
to add the letters of S. Aloysius, not published by Cepari or Schroeder. 
The translation, owing to circumstances beyond control, has been 
done under pressure of time. But every effort has been made to secure 
accuracy and fidelity, even perhaps at the cost of style. 


Among so many who, by their self sacrificing labour, have enabled 
this work to see the light, the editor is forced to single out for acknowledge 
ment the name of H. Butterfield, Esq. To his practised hand and 
thorough acquaintance with German, and not less to his unwearied patience, 
this translation owes most largely whatever merits it may possess. The 
additional letters are translated from Professor Jozzi s valuable collection: 
,,Lettere di S. Luigi Gonzaga", Pisa, 1889. 

Francis Goldie S. J. 
31, Farm Street. W. London. 
Feast of Corpus Christi, 1891. 


he tercentenary of the death of S. Aloysius Gonzaga naturally 
demands a commemoration of some sort. 

S. Aloysius, unlike so many of his illustrious family, 
has not left behind him the glory of a great Captain, or 
of a man of letters, or of a ruler or statesman. Perhaps 
\\-e may gather from this brief life, that thanks to the laws of inheritance, 
or to the gifts specially bestowed upon him, had longer years and oc 
casion been given to him he would have made his mark in the world. 
Talents he had, and they were very notable whenever circumstances 
called them into play. Father Budrioli, a contemporary of our Saint, 
records in his memoirs of S. Aloysius that it was the conviction of all 
the Fathers in the Roman College, and there were men of European 
fame amongst them, that young Gonzaga had been given to the Society 
of Jesus by a special providence to be one day its General, a post for 
which his prudence, sound judgment and extraordinary ability in mat 
ters of business seemed even then to have marked him out. 

But S. Aloysius had a heart too great to be contented with 
earthly grandeur. Nothing seemed of value to him except what is prized 
by God, and what, like Him, is everlasting. To our Saint the highest 
science was the science of Saints, to conquer oneself the greatest victory, 
to serve God was to reign. His motto was: Quid hoc ad aeternitatem? 
Guided by this thought, the young prince, though living in the midst 
of a profligate world, with its charms and seductions on every side, 
took in hand the difficult task of making himself a Saint. And in the 
short space that he lived he reached such a height of sanctity that Holy 
Church, not content with raising him to her altars, honoured him with 
the title of Angel of Purity , and gave him as model and patron to the 
youth of the future. 

What commemoration more fitting or more profitable than, by the 
faithful picture of his life, to reproduce him, whose whole being, whose 
every word and deed, whose each joy and sorrow, every aspiration and 
success were a constant forward march towards that ideal of perfection, 
which attracted him from childhood. 

During the last three centuries a multitude of biographies of 
S. Aloysius have appeared; but they are all more or less drawn from 
the same source, and have lost some of the clearness and purity of the 
fountain head. This source is the classical life by Father Virgil Cepari 
of the Society of Jesus. It is impossible to find in any other bio 
grapher of S. Aloysius the qualities which we meet with in Cepari. 

He was a contemporary of the Saint, an ocular witness of most 
of the facts he narrates; he was his fellow - student and lived with him 
for several years, during which he met him every day and was honoured 
with his most entire confidence. And what Cepari himself had not seen 
and heard, he learned from the lips of those who had witnessed all 


that he narrates, the mother and brother of S. Aloysius, his tutors, ser 
vants, his relatives and acquaintances, his masters, superiors in religion, 
his confessor. Cepari visited every place, except those in Spain, where 
the Saint had stayed for any length of time, and took down on the spot 
the most exact information, as can be learnt from the statements of the 
sworn witnesses. No other writer of the life of S. Aloysius has done 
the same. 

But to write the life of a Saint as it should be written, it is not 
everything even to have been an eye-witness. The Saints were often 
led by the Holy Spirit into a mystic darkness; and there is accordingly 
in their lives much that is not only extraordinary, but puzzling and in 
comprehensible. To be able to pierce that obscurity the biographer 
requires a special light, a great experience of the interior life both in 
himself and in others. He should have a profound acquaintance with 
the unusual paths along which God is pleased to conduct His Saints. 
For lack of this the writer may be Avanting in clearness; many things 
will appear in a false light; and the whole life may be painted in un 
favourable colours. 

Cepari s position as a solid theologian and writer on spiritual sub 
jects is attested by all the authors of his Order who have spoken of 
him. To cite but one Patrignani , Menologio di pie memorie di alcuni 
Religiosi della C. di G., Venice, Nicholas Pezzano, 1730, p. 101. His 
mystical work on the Presence of God is the most eloquent witness to 
his wonderful union with God. The Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine esteem 
ed it so highly that he might almost be said to have died with it in 
his hands. But apart from the testimony of that book, it is enough to 
recollect that, while Cepari was Rector of the College of the Society 
at Florence, he was the extraordinary confessor and director of S. Mary 
Magdalen de Pazzi, and so had permission to see the Saint whenever 
she wished. More than this, we have her sworn depositions in the pro 
cess of her Canonization which were approved in the reports of the Rota, 
and her testimonials to his direction. 

It happened that one evening, the vigil of Corpus Christi, 1600, 
Cepari, then her confessor, was giving a domestic exhortation to his re 
ligious brethren. At that very time S. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi sum 
moned Sister Mary Magdalen Berti, who was a penitent of F. Cepari 
before her entry into religion, and asked her: "What do you think 
Father Rector is doing now?". "No doubt;" was the reply, "he is 
saying his prayers." The Saint rejoined, "The Father Rector is now 
talking to his community, saying this and that thing and I see that 
the Holy Ghost is suggesting to him every word he utters." The 
fact that Cepari was so engaged proved to be perfectly correct. Without 
insisting too much on this occurrence, it emphasises at all events how 
great was F. Cepari s union with God. 

In this respect, the biography of S. Aloysius by Cepari gives the 
reader a guarantee not to be found elsewhere. For the author is not 
merely an eyewitness, but he speaks with a knowledge not to be equalled 
when he treats of the extraordinary side of the Saint s life. The style 
of the writer is singularly simple and clear. He leaves the facts to 
speak for themselves. And if here and there he adds some observation 


of his own, it is merely to forestall an enquiry of the reader, and to 
help him to a more thorough knowledge of the facts. 

The numberless translations of Cepari s work are a witness to its 
merits. The only complete English translation is that of 1637, published 
at Paris, of which an abridgment was published by Richardson of Derby. 
No attempt accordingly has been made to write a new life of the 
Saint for the Tercentenary, but new translations have been made of this 
master -piece of Cepari into German, French, Spanish and English, besides 
a new edition in Italian, the language employed by Cepari. 

The text chosen for this work is that of the editio princeps of 1606, 
(published at Rome by Zannetti) and this for several reasons. It is the 
earliest biography of the Saint, and that a very complete one. This can 
be seen by comparing it with the Acts of the process of Canonization, 
for hardly a fact is to be found in them which has not been put under 
contribution by our author. 

Then too this first edition has an intimate connexion with the life 
of S. Aloysius. It was already written in part while the Saint was 
still alive, and in the very house the Roman College where he 
was living; and it was finished with the help of the depositions of 
all who had known him. 

Again, this biography was offered by the author to the worthy 
brother of the Saint, Francis di Gonzaga, prince of Castiglione and 
by him to Pope Paul V., circumstances which give the edition a 
special sanction and value. 

More than this, it possesses a peculiar authenticity. We do not 
allude merely to the approbation of both the Vicegerent of Rome and 
of the Master of the Sacred Palace. In the first instance, five members 
of different religious orders examined the work. They compared it with 
the Acts of the process, which the Patriarch of Venice and a number 
of other Archbishops and Bishops had introduced before their tribu 
nals. All the examiners deposed on oath that down to the very minu 
test details, the work corresponded exactly with the truth, and with the 
evidence brought forward in the process. 

Moreover Father Acquaviva, then General of the Society, together 
with a number of other theologians submitted the book to a most minute 
scrutiny. Not only was it approved by them but it called forth from 
the General, who had admitted the Saint into the Society, a striking 
testimony to the virtues and sanctity of S. Aloysius. 

Paul V. then instituted a commission of Cardinals who were to examine 
the life with all possible rigour, so, as the acts state, to give it for 
all future time the highest possible mark of authenticity. 

Among the members of this Commission were the Dominican Car 
dinal, Jerome Bernerio, who in Rome went by the name of il Cardinale 
intewrimo, or the just, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, and Cardinal 
Jerome Pamfili, the Pope s Vicar, who afterwards became In 
nocent X. The remainder were select theologians and canor 
They studied the work and gave their report in a public Consistory, 
bestowing on the book praise of the most flattering kind, with 
fullest possible approval. 


Paul V. on the strength of this report, allowed the work to be 
printed "motu proprio et ex certa scientia nostra", as he says in his 
Brief of October 19, 1605. Thanks also to this Life, the Pope in 
the same document gave to Aloysius the title of Blessed. 

Cepari published at Piacenza in 1630 a second edition. It has not 
been accepted as the text, first because it does not give the double 
dedication of Cepari to Francis di Gonzaga or of that prince to the 
Pope; and secondly, as regards the first and second parts of the work, 
they are, with the exception of some slight changes of names, simple 
copies of the first edition. What additional matter they contain can 
easily be supplied in the notes. 

The third part, which treats of the miracles and the spread of the 
cultus of the Saint, and the acts which have reference to it, although 
more complete than the former edition, is still altogether insufficient. 
It has therefore been thought best to reproduce the first edition, and to 
complete it by an appendix. 

The Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, June, Vol. iv, compiled 
by Conrad Janning, Antwerp, 1707, and the acts of the process have 
been of the greatest value. The division into chapters, which Cepari 
made in his second edition, is made use of in this volume, but the origi 
nal divisions of the first edition are marked in Roman numerals; and 
whenever Cepari speaks of Aloysius as Blessed, the title of Saint has 
been substituted. 

To increase the historical value of this biography, notes have been 
added where explanations were needed, and every effort has been made 
to procure, when possible, photographs and engravings of the various 
persons, places and things which have reference to the life. Several un 
published letters also have been obtained. 

Best thanks are due to MM. Benziger for the admirable repro 
ductions of these illustrations. 

A genealogical table of the house of Gonzaga and of the entire 
family of Gonzagas of Castiglione has been given. This portion owes much 
to MSS. of the Gonzaga Archives of Mantua, the work of Volta, 
Compendia cronologico della storia di Mantova, T. I. 1807. T. II. 1827. 
T. III. 1837, and to Litta (II Conte Pompeio). Lefamiglie celebri Italiani, 
VolIV. Luciano Basadonna. Ed.: Topographia delle Famiglie Celebri. 1835. 

In conclusion we beg to express our most sincere thanks to all 
who have aided us in our labours by obtaining for us photographs, en 
gravings and facts of any kind. And we desire specially to single out 
among many il Cavaliere Stefano Davari, the head archivist of the Gon 
zaga Archives, Mantua; Signer Carlo Giammattei Cosci, the distinguished 
archaeologist of Florence; and the Reverend Fathers Locatelli, Van 
Meurs, Molinari, and Castellani, S. J. May S. Aloysius, in whose 
honour all this trouble has been taken, recompense their obliging kind 
ness by his powerful intercession! 

Frederick Schroeder S. J. 

Rome, January 14, 1891. 


mantis t crectt .die jy. 

rz. Olnjt die 28 la 
Sed.dies aa. 



the brother of S. Aloysius to Pope Paul V. 

Most Holy Father. 

[he Blessed Aloysius Gonzaga, whose unworthy younger brother 
I am, is so glorious by the holy life he led on earth, and by 
the many miracles worked after his death, that both in Italy 
and abroad he is widely revered and honoured by pictures and 
statues. And just as families are wont to preserve the por 
traits of their ancestors of honoured memory, I had thought to preserve 
in my own house as a holy and honoured memorial of B. Aloysius Gon 
zaga, for my own good and for that of my friends and successors, the 
accompanying life, a picture, not of his body, but of his soul. For the 


soul is much more admirable than the body, because it is the reason why 
the body is to be admired, and is all the more meritorious as it is the 
source of all merit. But Pope Clement VIII. of holy memory urged me 
to publish this Life, for he well remembered the holiness of the life 
and death of the Blessed Aloysius and knew the wide -spread fame of 
his miracles. I therefore changed my mind and determined to bring it 
out for the use of the public. 

I could not, however, carry out my intention during the life of 
his late Holiness, because just at that time I was obliged to leave this 
Court for Germany, as I was summoned by my Sovereign, the Emperor; 
and in the mean time Pope Clement died. Now that your Holiness has 
succeeded him amidst universal applause, you have deigned to approve 
of my determination. And further, after the report presented to you in 
the Sacred Consistory upon the exemplary and holy life of Aloysius, 
by the Cardinals chosen for that purpose, you have been pleased in the 
Brief addressed recently to me to honour him with the title of Blessed. 
I beg therefore most humbly to present the Life to your Holiness, not 
only with an account of the miracles which had taken place up to that 
time, but with a further record of those which have been performed 
up to the present date. 

The citizens of Heaven receive eternal honours here on this earth 
from the supreme court and consistory of your Holiness, before whose 
tribunal the Canonization of the Blessed Aloysius is now pending. Your 
Holiness may see from this book, how much he merits these honours 
and what solid ground there is for granting them. 

May your Holiness be pleased to accept this, as your kindness 
has promised me, and deign as soon as possible graciously to hear, not 
only all the members of the house of Gonzaga and its subjects, but the 
many Christian Princes who earnestly implore the said Canonization, 
for their own consolation as well as for that of their people. 

Whilst I kiss the feet of your Holiness, I conclude by begging 
your Blessing. 

Your Holiness 
most humble and devoted servant, 

Francis Gonzaga 

Prince of the Empire and Marquis of Castiglione. 

Francis Gonzaga, Prince of Castiglione, brother of S. Aloysius, with his 
three little sons. 

From an oil painting in the former Church of the Capuchins Santa Maria della Noce 
at Castig-lione delle Stiviere. 

The Author s Dedication to the brother of S. Aloysius Gonzaga, 

To the most illustrious and excellent 


Don Francis Gonzaga, 

Prince of the Empire, 

Marquis of Castiglione and of Medole etc. 

Chamberlain, Privy Councillor and Ambassador of his Imperial Majesty 
to his Holiness Pope Paul V. 

Most Illustrious and excellent Prince. 

[he Blessed Aloysius, the eldest brother of your Excellence, from 
his very childhood applied himself in such a manner to 
Christian devotion and piety, that when about seventeen or 
eighteen years old he renounced his State in favour of the 
Marquis Rodolph, his brother, and entered the Society of 
Jesus. There he soon became specially remarkable for the sanctity of 

Saint Aloysius. 


his life, and was esteemed by all as holy, as God since his death has 
shown him to have been by miracles worked through his intercession. 
Because he was judged worthy to be numbered amongst those, whose 
lives are written for the common instruction of the faithful, my superiors 
appointed me to write this his Life. 

And now that I have, by the grace of God, finished it, I send it, 
such as it is to your Excellency, begging you to let me know if you 
approve of its publication. Because, although I am of opinion that it 
would tend to the honour of God, I am, nevertheless, unwilling to pub 
lish it without the permission of your Excellency. To you I present 
and give it. And this is only as it should be, not merely because you 
are so closely related to one another, and because this Blessed youth 
regarded you with special love, but even more because your Excellency 
strives to resemble him in goodness and virtue. With reason then did 
his Lordship the Bishop of Brescia on one occasion say that he had 
no cause for much anxiety as regards that part of his diocese which is 
subject to your Excellency, because both you and your most excellent 
wife, Princess Bibiana Pernstein, had by the excellent example of your 
lives, and by your religious government, introduced so much goodness 
and virtue amongst your vassals, that he could not have done more 

May your Excellency then accept this my humble gift which I 
offer to you with a confidence as great as the esteem with which I 
reverence you is profound. It is consoling to see men of your high 
lineage strive, not only to be famous in this world by their valour in 
war, and by the extent of their territories, but also to be glorious in 
Heaven by their virtue and holiness. 

Your Excellency s 
Most humble and devoted servant, 

of the Society of Jesus. 

Father Virgil Cepari S. J. 
After an oil painting- on kopper in the College of the "Virgins of Jesus" at Castiglione. 

The Author to the pious Reader. 

nyone who reads the histories and lives of the Saints, who have 
flourished in the Catholic Church from time to time, will find 
that Divine Providence as a rule never sends a Saint whose life 
is a great example to others, without at the same time providing 
that some one who knew him, should be inspired to write his life 
and actions. And this, in order that at his death, his fame may not die, 
but may be made known throughout the whole Church, and may be pre 
served throughout future ages, for the benefit and instruction of posterity. 
For the lives of the Saints are models of holy life, and they show 
the straight way to Heaven, much more efficaciously than books or words 
can do. The lives of the ancient Saints, perfect as they were, yet belong 
to times very remote from our own. They have not that living force to 
move us, which they should have, and in a certain manner seem rather 
to excite us to admiration than to imitation. It seems as if in the 
course of time they had lost their power and supernatural efficacy, so 
that we often hear it said that it is impossible to attain to that degree 
of sanctity now, which they so happily attained in former ages. There 
fore, God by a particular providence, causes new plants to spring up in 


the garden of Holy Church and new Saints to blossom forth, who lead 
us along the direct road to Heaven, and prove to us that the hand of 
God is not shortened, and that it is possible now as always, to serve 
God with sanctity and perfection. 

One of these in our own times is the saintly young man, Aloysius 
Gonzaga, a religious of the Society of Jesus. In the short space of 
twenty three years and three months during which he lived, he gave forth 
so great an odour of sanctity, and such was his advance in per 
fection, that all who knew him were astonished, and many were moved 
to imitate his example. That those who did not know him, might not 
be deprived of the fruit which is to be drawn from his holy actions, 
Divine Providence, according to its custom, moved the hearts of several 
persons to note and write down what they knew of his holy life. 

Merely alluding to the fact that Father Nicolas Orlandini, where he 
speaks, in the annals of the Society of Jesus, of the novices in Rome, 
in the year 1585, describes briefly his vocation to religion, and that the 
author of the Life of Eleanor of Austria, Duchess of Mantua, twice 
touches incidentally, with great praise, on his vocation and holy death, we 
may mention that the first who wrote expressly upon the virtues of 
S. Aloysius, was Father Jerome Piatti (Platus), author of the work, De 
Cardinalatit ad Fratrem, and also of De bono statii Religiosi. He was 
a man of rare talents and natural gifts, and in particular possessed eminent 
judgment and prudence, and remarkable piety and religious Spirit. He 
had the charge of the novices who came to the Gesu in Rome to serve 
Mass; and when S. Aloysius as a novice went there, he made him recount 
his life and vocation, and the favours God had bestowed on him in the 
world. These graces and favours seemed to the Father so rare and so 
extraordinary, that when the young man had gone away, he wrote them 
down briefly. 

After him, I was the first who wrote his life at length, whilst the 
young man was still living in Rome. At that time I was in the same 
college with him and often talked very intimately with him; for I remarked 
that his words and actions moved to devotion all who observed them; 
just as the lives of the Saints touch all, who read them with good dis 
positions and in order to profit by them. I thought that his holy example 
would have the same effect on secular persons, when it became known 
to them. Accordingly I was moved, as I believe, by God, and out of a 
desire to give pleasure to many others, to determine to write his life. 
I confided my intention to Father Jerome Piatti, and he not only approved 
of it, but to stimulate me the more to the work, he gave me what he 
had written, and which up to that time he had kept secret. With the 
help of this, and other things, partly noted by myself and partly related 
by others, I wrote the Saint s Life about two years before his death ; although 
I mentioned it then but to few, for fear it should reach his ears. After 
S. Aloysius death I was urged by Father Bellarmine, now a Cardinal, 
who had read it with great delight, to add to it the last two years which 
were wanting. But as I was then engaged with something else, I gave 
it to Father Antony Valtrino, who had come from Sicily to write the 
annals of the Society, so that lie might finish it or make what use of 
it he pleased. He had not known S. Aloysius, but he found so great 


an idea of his sanctity throughout the Roman College, that he would not 
wait to describe these things in the Annals, but composed a separate 
life, which was the second in circulation. As the things on which we 
had based our narrative had mostly been drawn with holy stratagem 
from the mouth of the young man himself, who through his humility had 
but half told them, had diminished, and in part concealed them, w T e were 
anxious to get clearer light, and fuller information as to times, places, 
and persons. We procured various accounts from Mantua, Castiglione 
and other towns, and material grew so both in quality and quantity, that 
we thought it necessary to begin a fresh, and rearrange the whole life. 

The Father died without doing any more, and the Very Reverend 
Father Claud Acquaviva, General of the Society, anxious that the 
exemplary life of so holy a young man should be brought to light, ordered 
me to give my mind to it anew, and to compose a well arranged and 
complete life. I accepted the charge, as if from God; and, in order the 
better to find out the truth, I went first from Rome to Florence. There 
I spent several days in gathering minute information as to the whole life 
of S. Aloysius from Signer Peter Francis del Turco, Majordomo of Don 
John de Medici, who was at the court of the Marquis Don Ferrante 
when S. Aloysius was born. He was placed in charge of the boy when 
he was quite little, and was his tutor and waited upon him for eighteen 
consecutive years, until he left him at the noviceship of the Society in 
Rome. As he had accompanied him on all his journeys and had been 
in continual attendance upon him, he was very fully acquainted with his 
whole life. From Florence I went to Lombardy, and when I arrived 
at Castiglione, the Marquisate of S. Aloysius, I stayed there several days, 
seeking information from the Marchioness, his mother, and from all who 
had known and served him in the world. To authenticate matters more 
fully, I had two complete processes drawn up, on his life and virtues, with 
the consent of the Bishop. I also received documents about the saint 
from France and Spain, and examinations and authentic processes drawn 
up with all the requisite formalities in various places in Poland, and in 
Italy before the ecclesiastical tribunals of the Patriarch of Venice, of the 
archbishops of Naples, Milan, Florence, Bologna, Sienna, and Turin, and 
of the bishops of Mantua, Padua, Vicenza, Brescia, Forli, Modena, Reggio, 
Parma, Piacenza, Mondovi, Ancona, Recanati, and Tivoli. I have also 
visited in person, several times, all the cities and places in Lombardy 
where I thought I could gain accurate knowledge of events. Finally I 
decided to write the life in Brescia, as it is near to Castiglione, whence 
I could get a quick answer to any doubts which might arise. 

It is from these processes and documents that I have drawn this 
life, and I assert that I have said nothing with regard to the virtues 
of this holy servant of God, which cannot be proved by sworn witnesses, 
who are worthy of entire credit; as in fact the religious who have 
compared the life with the processes bear witness to. The interior virtues of 
S. Aloysius, for the most part, are taken from Cardinal Bellarmine, from 
the MS. of Father Jerome Piatti, from the examinations of his different 
superiors and confessors, and from others who have had intimate relations 
and dealings with him. The external matters, which happened when he 
was in the world, I gathered at Mantua from the Bishop of Mantua, 


Francis Gonzaga, by word of mouth and by a document written by his 
own hand and attested on oath; from Signor Prosper Gonzaga, his god 
father., who afterwards knew him very intimately, and who gave me much 
information on many particulars; from the Marchioness, his mother; from 
his tutor, attendants, and servants, who have always waited upon him 
from his childhood, and who accompanied him in the journey he took 
to various places. All these things have been deposed to juridically. 

It seemed advisable to mention these facts, not to show my own 
diligence, but merely to assure my readers of the truth of what I ask 
them to believe ; and this is the duty of writers of history. I have written 
in Italian for the good of men and women alike, and not for students 
only. The style is simple and familiar, without tricks or flowers of 
rhetoric. The narrative of the events is not divided according to 
subjects, but follows the order of the Saint s life, and the places where 
he dwelt. Thus it is easy to learn in which place and at what age he 
did any particular thing. This plan gives great satisfaction to many, 
although it necessitates the repetition of actions which are of constant 
occurrence. The life is divided into three parts. The first contains the 
life of S. Aloysius in the world up to his entrance into religion. The 
second, his religious life to his death. The third, those things which 
occurred with regard to him after his blessed death. Some may think 
I should not have entered into certain minute details which I propose 
to mention in the second part. But I am writing for the good of religious 
and devout persons, and the life is that of a religious man and not of 
some great captain or prince. It describes moral actions for our imitation. 
And as these are often varied by slight circumstances, I shall mention 
those details, because they cause his exquisite sanctity and perfection to 
shine forth all the more brillantly. In this I follow the example of many 
writers of the lives of Saints, and I have also the approval of learned 
persons of great authority. For, although each of those things in itself may 
appear trifling, yet the constant and perpetual fulfilment of them, with 
such exactitude as he performed them, will be proof of habitual perfection 
to those who understand such matters. I have mentioned this subject so 
that no one may think these things have been written by chance. 

May the errors in this life be attributed to myself; and of whatever 
is well done may the glory be given to God. May He give us grace 
to imitate the example of this young Saint, and to attain through his 
intercession that blessed end which we believe he is enjoying in Heaven 
in such great glory. 

And thou, holy and Blessed Aloysius, who in the happy abodes 
of Paradise, receivest now the reward of thy labours, and in that living 
mirror of the Divine Essence seest my imperfections, pardon me for 
having dared with my unworthy pen to write of thy heroic virtues. 
Remember that affectionate charity which thou didst show to me, 
whilst thou wast yet on earth, and implore for me of our common 
Lord the grace to live religiously and to labour holily, so that favoured 
by thy help and thy protection, I may one day, when God pleases, come 
to enjoy, in thy company, happiness eternal. 



given by four Reverend Fathers in Brescia concerning S. Aloysius, 

and this his life, after having seen and compared it with the 


The Father Vicar of the Inquisition, of the Order 
of S. Dominic. 

Brother Silvester Ugolotti, Doctor in Theology of the Order 
of Friar Preachers and Vicar General of the Holy Office of 
the Inquisition in the City and Diocese of Brescia, by these 
presents declare, and affirm on oath that I have read the Life 
of the Blessed Prince Don Aloysius Gonzaga, Marquis of 
Castiglione, and a Religious of the holy Society of Jesus, written by 
the Very Rev. Father Virgil Cepari, Theologian and Preacher in the 
same Society, that I have compared it with the Processes, from which 
it is drawn, and I have found that all that is said of the virtue and 
holiness of this blessed youth is borne out by sworn evidence, and by 
the authentic Processes made before the Ecclesiastical Tribunals, 
Patriarchal, Archiepiscopal, and Episcopal, of many cities. And further, I 
believe that not only is all that is related in this history, but many other 
facts, most true; because, having known and had dealings with this 
Blessed Prince in his childhood, I know that, from his earliest years, 
he was held by everyone to be a saint, and was praised for his angelic 
life and behaviour; and of all this I could give many examples. 

In this Life I find nothing contrary to Faith and Morals; on the 
contrary it is written with prudence, and in a religious spirit. It is full 
of holy examples, and I think it will be a source of great spiritual bene 
fit, not only to members of religious orders, but also to those living in 
the world, and to Princes and Noblemen, to all of whom this Blessed 
Father has been a guide and an example. In testimony of the truth, 
I have written these presents, and subscribed them with my hand in our 
convent of S. Dominic at Brescia on the 2y& of November 1604. 

I, Brother Silvester, the above named, 
affirm on oath as above. 


The Father Lector of the Benedictine Monks of 
Mount Cassino. 

, Dom Paul Cattaneo, monk of the Order of S. Benedict, in the 
Congregation of Monte Cassino, otherwise of S. Justina of 
Padua, Professor of Philosophy and of Cases of conscience in the 
Monastery of SS. Faustin and Jovita in the city of Brescia, 
do affirm on oath, that I have read the Life of the Blessed 
Prince Aloysius Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, who was afterwards a 
Religious of the Society of Jesus, written by the Very Reverend Father 
Virgil Cepari, a theologian and preacher of the same Society, and I have 
also compared it with all the Processes, and authentic writings from 
which it has been taken, and have seen that all that is said is proved 
by the sworn evidence of witnesses worthy of confidence. Not only is 
there in this Life nothing contrary to our holy Faith and to morals, but 
it abounds in holy examples, and is most worthy to be printed for the 
general good of the faithful. The great emotion and benefit it has caused 
in me give me reason to believe, that it will do the same with all who 
read it, and I myself can affirm, having known him in the world many 
years before he entered Religion, that he was commonly held and reputed 
to be a holy youth, and many of his actions were spoken of with 
wonder as those of a saint. At his departure to enter Religion the 
whole of his Marquisate mourned for him with tears, feeling the loss of 
such a Master. 

In attestation of this I have executed the present writing, and sub 
scribed it with my hand in the Monastery of S. Faustin, on the 
22nd November 1604. 

I, Dom Paul, the above mentioned, affirm on oath 
what I have stated. 

The Father Provincial of the Capuchins. 

he holy life, adorned with every virtue and merit, of the Bles 
sed Prince, Don Aloysius Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione and 
Religious of the holy Society of Jesus, written here below by 
the Very Reverend Father Virgil Cepari, Doctor of Theology 
and Preacher of the same Society, drawn with much diligence 
from the sworn evidence and from the authentic Processes, as I have 
found by a careful comparison, of the truth of which I make 
oath, deserves, in every way, to be published for the glory of God, 
Who shows himself so wonderfully in his saints, as an example for 
istian princes, and for the edification of religious, and of all the 
iaithful. This glorious Prince may be said to have been born a saint. 
He lived and died so holily, and so great were the gifts and the graces 
he received from God during his life, that it seems to me one can say 


of him three things of special note. First, Adam does not appear to 
have sinned in him, as Alexander (Hales) said once of his pupil 
S. Bonaventure, such was his state of innocence, far from every suspicion 
of sin. Secondly, in all his actions he was more like an angel than a 
man, such mastery in him had the spirit over the flesh, the mind over 
the senses. Thirdly, in him is verified in a singular manner that saying 
of the Wise Man , Consummatus in brevi exphvit tempera multa : since in 
the short space of time, which he passed in this mortal life, he by himself 
acquired that, which many saints in community with difficulty can in many 
years acquire, and arrived at so high a pitch of perfection, to which so 
many others can never arrive. If the voice of the people is, as is said, 
the voice of God; then, as this Blessed Prince is held to be a saint by 
common consent, and is declared to be one by the unanimous voice of all, 
by Princes, Prelates, by his confessors, masters, rectors, by his re 
lations and his dependents, one must admit that he was most holy, and 
that he merits, as in heaven so also on earth to be numbered amongst 
the saints. And may he deign to be my intercessor and advocate with 
the Divine Majesty. 

From our convent af SS. Peter and Marcellinus in Brescia on the 
22 nd of November 1604. 

I, Brother John Francis of Brescia, Provincial of the Capuchin 
Friars of the Province of Brescia, preacher and professor of theology, 
have written and subscribed the above with my own hand, and I ratify 
it by oath. 

The Father Rector of the Society of Jesus. 

\ , John Baptist Peruschi, a Roman, Rector of the College of the 
Society of Jesus in Brescia, owing to the fact that the Very 
Rev. Father Virgil Cepari has written the life of our Blessed 
Brother Aloysius Gonzaga of the same Society in this College 
of Brescia, have compared the said Life by the said Father 
with the Processes and authentic documents, from which with great dili 
gence it has been been drawn, and I declare on oath that all related 
therein is to be found in the authentic Processes and in the depositions 
of sworn witnesses, and I myself am a witness that this Father of our 
Society has visited various cities of Lombardy to obtain the said docu 
ments so as to write an authentic history. And all the more readily do 
I subscribe my name, as I have known and had familiar relations with the 
B. Aloysius, both when a secular and a Religious of our Society, in 
Milan and in Rome; and I have been a witness of many of the virtues 
narrated in his life; and known many proofs of his holiness, which the 
same Father describes in his Life. 

I know too that he was heldr to be a saint by all who \vere inti 
mate with him and had dealings with him ; and, since his death the fame 
of his sanctity has gone on increasing, and in many places in Lombardy, 


where I have now resided many years, it is so great that it seems im 
possible that it should increase any more. 

In attestation of the truth, I have written these presents and sub 
scribed them with my own hand. In my College of Brescia on the 
2Qth of November 1604. 

I, the above-named John Baptist Peruschi, 
affirm on oath as above. 

The signatures above given were sworn to before two witnesses, 
and acknowledged by a Notary of the Bishop of Brescia s Court, in a 
document attesting to them and drawn up on this subject. 

Father Claudius Aquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus. 

After an oil painting in the Gregorian University at Rome. 

Claud Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus. 

jje grant permission for this Life of the B. Aloysius Gonzaga of 
our Society, divided into three parts, and written by F. Virgil 
Cepari, Theologian of the same Society, revised and approved 
by us, and by many other of our Father Theologians, to be 
printed, if it seems good to the Very Rev. Father Master 
of the Sacred Palace, because we hope that it may be a source of great 
spiritual aid to those who may read it, both Religious and seculars. 
And we grant this all the more readily as, by certain information and 
our own experience, we know that this holy and blessed youth was most 
perfect and exemplary in every virtue. Not only did he live in the world 
with great edification to all, but, from the time that he was received by 
us into the Society, he was always a pattern of perfect sanctity, and 
commonly regarded as such by all those who knew and associated with 
him during the few years that he lived amongst us. In these few years 
we discovered that Our Lord God delighted much in this soul, and that 
he had enriched it with remarkable supernatural gifts, from which sprang 
the holy actions and the angelic virtues of his exterior life. So he 
lived, and persevered always till death, when he passed from earth to 
Heaven; where, on solid grounds, we believe that this holy soul entered 
immediately into the enjoyment of eternal glory, there to intercede for 
us before God. And of all this we gladly make this declaration, to 
give testimony of the truth, for the glory of Our Lord the Giver of 
all sanctity, to whom be praise and honour for ever. 

Rome, the 14* of July, 1605. 

In accordance with the Decrees of Urban VIII. of the 13^ March, 
1625, and of the 5* June, 1631, as also according to the Decrees of the 
holy Congregation of Rites, we declare, that for all the wonderful 
occurrences, revelations, and graces mentioned in this Book, we claim 
merely human authority, unless they have received the express appro 
bation of the Church. 



The Fortress and the Castle of Castiglione delle Stiviere in the time of 

S. Aloysius. 

f Chamber where he was born. 

After an old oil painting which is in the possession of Louis Ballerini at Castiglione. 
(See P. I, ch. i and note 4.) 


His Ancestry and Birth. 


aint Aloysius Gonzaga, whose life and actions I have 
undertaken to write, was the eldest son of Don 
Ferrante Gonzaga, prince of the Holy Roman Empire 
and Marquis of Castiglione delle Stiviere 1 in Lom- 
bardy and of his lady Martha Tana Santena of Chieri in Pied 
mont. The Marquis was third cousin to William Duke of 
Mantua 2 and of the same stock. The Marquisate which he 
held lay between Verona, Mantua and Brescia, not far from 
the Lago di Garda, and had descended to him from his an 
cestors. The Marchioness was a member of an illustrious Pied- 
montese family. She was the daughter of Signor Balthasar 
Tana dei Baroni di Santena and of Anne de la Rovere of the 
ancient lords of that name, and first cousin to Cardinal Jerome 
della Rovere, Archbishop of Turin. 8 

The Saint s parents were betrothed and married in Spain, 
as both the Marquis Don Ferrante and Donna Martha were 

4 The Life of Chap. 

attached to the Court of Philip II. The lady was the 
favourite and confidential maid of honour to Isabel de Valois, 
the Queen of Philip, and daughter of Henry II. of France. By 
this means the Marquis came to know the noble qualities and 
rare gifts of the lady and was most anxious to marry her. When 
after mature consideration he came to this resolution, he took 
means that his wishes should come to the ears of the Sovereigns. 

It met with their approval and a handsome dowry and 
valuable presents were given by the Queen to the bride as signs 
of her affection towards her. The marriage was celebrated at 
Court, and it was accompanied by many incidents of so holy 
a character, as clearly proved what fruit might be expected 
from such a union. For when Donna Martha first learned from 
the Queen that the marriage was being spoken of, she caused 
a number of Masses to be said, in honour of the Blessed Tri 
nity, of the Holy Ghost, of the Passion, of Our Lady, of the 
Angels, and others to obtain from God that all should be for 
the best. Then again the reply to the letters which had been 
written to Italy, to obtain the sanction of their parents to the 
marriage, arrived at Court just as all were engaged in fulfilling 
the conditions of a Jubilee which had been granted by Rome. 
When these pious practices came to a close, on the feast 
of the Nativity of S. John the Baptist, the Marquis and Donna 
Martha went to Communion and afterwards signed the agreement 
for the marriage. On that same day the lady, as she herself 
told me, made a firm resolution to do all in her power to ad 
vance in the practices of a devout life. And as the Queen 
was expecting her. confinement, she was unwilling to deprive 
herself at the time of one in whom she placed such confidence 
and whom she had brought with her from France. 

She accordingly ordered the marriage to be deferred until 
her child was born. And when the day appointed by the Queen 
arrived, there chanced to be another Jubilee or Plenary Indul 
gence, to obtain which the bride and bridegroom again went to 
confession and Communion, and were married as befitted good 
Catholics in the grace of God. It is worthy also of remark that 
this was the first wedding celebrated in the country according 
to the orders and with the solemnities prescribed by the Coun 
cil of Trent, the observances of which were just then intro 
duced into the Spanish Dominions. 

I. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 5 

After the marriage, the Marquis had permission from the 
King and Queen to return to his Marquisate in Italy, and to take 
his wife with him. Before leaving, the King named him his 
Chamberlain or honorary lord in waiting, and granted him dur 
ing his lifetime and that of his son certain large pensions in 
the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan. Shortly 
afterwards he was made Captain of the King s men-at-arms, 
a dignity to be found among the highest nobility of Italy. 

On reaching Castiglione, the Marchioness, now that she 
found herself freed from the occupations and distractions of 
Court life, and with much more leisure and opportunity than 
before, devoted herself with yet greater earnestness to the prac 
tices of perfection; in accordance with the resolution she had 
taken in Spain. She felt herself especially inflamed with the 
desire to have a son, who would serve God in religious life. 
Under the influence of this wish she often and with great 
earnestness asked this grace from God. It would seem, as events 
proved, that her prayers were heard, for it was her first born 
who afterwards entered the Society of Jesus, in which he lived 
and died holily. Nor should it appear wonderful that so holy 
a son, desired for so holy an object, should have been obtained 
by his mother s prayers. For we read in the Scripture how gracious 
ly God grants petitions such as these; as it is written of 
Anna, the mother of the holy prophet Samuel, who when she 
was barren and asked God for a child, whom she might dedi 
cate to His service, obtained at once what she asked. So too 
of S. Nicholas of Tolentino, who was besought for by his 
mother; of S. Francis di Paola who was obtained in answer 
to a vow of his parents, his mother like Sara being barren; of 
S. Andrew Corsini and many others in like way. 

He then, as He put it into the heart of the Marchioness to 
ask this favour, was able graciously to grant it, and to choose 
for Himself the first fruits she bore. More than this, it would 
seem that God was pleased to take possession of S. Aloysius 
even before he left his mother s womb. For doubtless we must 
attribute it to divine providence that he was baptised before 
he was brought forth, and that the Blessed Virgin, Queen of 
Heaven, should by her protection aid the birth of him, who 
from a baby was so devout to her. For the lady used to tell 
that when her time was come, she was in such agony, that 

Saint Aloysius. 

6 The Life of Chap. 

she was at death s door, before the boy came into the world. 
And the Marquis summoned several medical men and entreated 
them that if they could not save the life of the child, they would 
at least save its soul and save the mother. But after they had 
employed different means and remedies to hasten the birth, at 
last they despaired of the life of both child and mother. "When 
the lady heard this and saw that all human help had failed, she 
determined to have recourse to divine assistance, and especially 

Don Ferrante, Marquis of Castiglione and Prince of the Holy Roman 

Empire, Father of S. Aloysius. 

After an oil painting- in the Chapter house of the Church of SS. Nazarius and 
Celsus at Castiglione. (See P. I, ch. i.) 

to the most Blessed Virgin the Mother of Mercy. She sent 
for the Marquis, and with his permission she vowed to go to 
the holy house of Loreto, if she escaped death, and to take 
her child with her should it survive. When the vow was made, 
all danger passed away, and shortly afterwards the boy was 
bom. As the doctors persisted in declaring that it was im 
possible that the child should live, and the Marquis was urgent 
that its soul should be saved, a skilful midwife as soon as 

I. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 7 

possible baptised the babe, even before the delivery was com 
plete. Thus through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin the 
life of both mother and son were saved, and the infant was 
born again in grace and to God, before it was born to the 
world. This singular favour of God must be attributed to His 
wish that He should possess the child from its mother s womb. 
In this respect he resembled B. Matilda. For God revealed to 
her, as we read in her life, that at His wish in danger of a 

Donna Martha Marchioness of Castiglione born Tana, Baroness of Santena, 
Mother of S. Aloysius. 

After an oil painting in the Chapter house of the Church of SS. Nazarius and 
Celsus at Castiglione. (See P. I, ch. i and note 3.) 

like kind, her baptism had been hastened, so that her soul 
might at once be dedicated as a temple to God and He might 
dwell in it from her very birth, and forestall her by His grace. 
S. Aloysius was bom in the Castle of Castiglione, 4 the 
chief place of his father s Marquisate, which has now become 
a principality, and is in the diocese of Brescia. This took place 
in the Pontificate of S.Pius V., in the year i568, on March 9 th , 
Tuesday at 23 3 / 4 of the clock, Italian time, or just before 

8 The Life of Chap. 

sundown. Immediately the child was born, the mother made the 
sign of the cross upon it and gave it her blessing. For a whole 
hour it lay so quiet without moving that one could scarcely 
tell whether it were alive or dead. Then as if awaking from a 
deep slumber, it gave a little cry, and was quiet again and did 
not cry any more as babies generally do. Perhaps this was 
a sign of his future meekness and the inborn sweetness of his 

The solemnities of baptism were carried out with great 
pomp on the 20 th of April, the same year, and on another 
Tuesday, in the Church of San Nazario, 5 by Monsignor John 
Baptist Pastorio, parish priest of Castiglione. The child was 
called Aloysius 6 because this was the name of its deceased grand 
father on the father s side. 7 The Godfather was -William, Duke 
of Mantua, who sent Prospero Gonzaga, his Majordomo, 
and a cousin of his own and of the Marquis, to represent 
him, as is written down in the parochial register of the Church. 
In it I remarked, amongst other things, that all the baptisms 
up till then had been entered in Italian. In the entry about 
S. Aloysius, whether because of the dignity of the individual, 
or perchance by a special guidance of God, some Latin words 
follow it which I did not observe after any other, not even 
those of his brothers. The phrase seems to have been veri 
fied in his regard "May he be happy, loved by God, most 
good and most great, and may he ever live for the benefit 
of men." Doctor Rodolph Petruccini, who was present at the 
whole, adds that a student of the family of Rossi of Padua 
recited a fine oration in Italian. 

S. Aloysius education, till he was seven. 

i568 iSyS. 

t is easy to imagine the care and pains bestowed on 
Aloysius education even from his earliest years. These 
were the more needed, because as the eldest son, he was 
heir not only to the estates of the Marquis, his father, 
but also to those of his paternal uncles, Alphonsus, lord ofCastel 

II. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 9 

Goffredo, and Horace, lord of Solferino. For as Horace had no 
children and Alphonsus only a daughter, they would be obliged to 
leave their Imperial fiefs to their nephew Aloysius. The Marchio 
ness, pious lady that she was, was anxious that this her boy should 
from childhood be accustomed to practices of piety, and as 
soon as ever his tongue began to be loosed, she herself taught 
him to make the sign of the Cross, to say the holy names of 
Jesus and Mary, to recite the Our Father and Hail Mary 
and other prayers. She wished that those that were with him, 
and the servants should do the same. And he became so 
pious that from the brightness of that dawn, one could gather 
how great would be the glory of the mid-day. For the maid 
servants in his mother s service , who had the duty of dressing 
and undressing her little son, bore witness that they saw in him 
from infancy very great devotion and fear of God. 

Two very noteworthy actions among the rest are told of 
him; one that he showed great compassion to the poor, and 
whenever he saw them he wanted to give them alms; the other 
that when he began to be able to go about the house by him 
self, he often used to hide; and when they sought for him, he 
would be found in some out of the way place where he had 
gone to pray. They were much astonished at this and pro 
phesied even then that he would be a Saint. Some deposed, and 
among them Camillus Maynardi, that when they took him, 
though he was then a mere baby, in their arms, they felt in 
wardly touched with devotion and they seemed to be carrying 
an angel from heaven. 

The Marchioness took great delight in seeing her son 
grow so pious and devout; the Marquis, however, being himself 
a soldier and indeed holding high military posts under the King 
of Spain, had long determined that Aloysius should imitate his 
example and enter the army. So when the child was but 
four years old, he had miniature guns, mortars and other arms 
made for him, small enough for him to use even at that age. 
Shortly afterwards the Marquis was given by the King of Spain 
the command of 3,000 Italian infantry in the forthcoming ex 
pedition against Tunis. 

He went to make the levy of troops at Casale Maggior, 8 
a place in the district of Cremona and the duchy of Milan, 
and was accompanied thither by Aloysius whom he had taken 

io The Life of Chap. 

from his mother and his nurses although barely five years of age. 
At Casale, whenever a review was held, Don Ferrante would 
make the boy march at the head of the divisions, in a light 
suit of armour and shouldering a little pike. Great was the 
father s delight when he perceived the pleasure his son took 
in this exercise. 

Aloysius stayed several months at Casale, and as a child 
of that tender age is easily influenced by those around him, 
the constant companionship of the troops soon indued him 
with a soldier s spirit, and he gave evident signs of his willing 
ness to follow the career of arms, urged on him by his father s 
words and example. Several times it happened that, while 
handling arms and especially guns, he ran great danger of his 
life. But he was almost miraculously saved by Divine Provi 
dence, and preserved for a more perfect state of life. Once, 
in particular while firing off an arquebuss, he burnt all his face 
with the gunpowder. Another time in summer, while the 
Marquis was taking his mid-day siesta, and a number of the 
soldiers were asleep, he took some powder from the men s 
flasks, and all by himself, a wonderful thing for one so young, 
he loaded a small field piece, that was in the fort, and fired 
it. He was within a hair-breadth of being run over by the 
wheels of the gun carriage in its recoil. The Marquis was 
aroused by the report and feared that there was some disturb 
ance or mutiny among the soldiers. Fie sent at once to en 
quire and when he learnt what had happened he wished to 
punish the boy. But the soldiers, pleased to see such daring 
in one so young , interposed in his behalf and obtained his 
pardon. Aloysius afterwards told these facts and others like 
them to show God s goodness towards him, in delivering him 
from so many dangers. He scrupled somewhat at having taken 
the gunpowder from the soldiers, though he consoled himself 
with the thought that, had he asked for it, they would willingly 
have given it to him. 

When the Marquis left with the troops for Tunis, he sent 
Aloysius back to Castiglione. There the Saint led the sort of 
life he had learned at Casale. While among the soldiers he 
had often heard free and improper expressions, barrack talk, 
and these he began to use without knowing their meaning. This 
he told F. Jerome Piatti (Platus), 9 when at his request, Aloysius 

II. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 1 1 

related to him all his life in the world. His tutor, Peter Fran 
cis del Turco, 10 overheard him one day, and reproved him 
severely for this habit, and as the tutor himself asserted the 
Saint was never again known in all his life to utter a word that 
was not proper and decent. And if he heard anyone make use 
of such words, he either modestly cast his eyes to the ground, 
or turned them in another direction, pretending not to hear; 
or sometimes showed his displeasure. From this we may 
be sure that, had he known the meaning of what he said, 
he would never have used such words. The greatest fault that 
is found in the life of S. Aloysius were these words, spoken 
in childish ignorance. For when told that they were bad, and 
unfit for one in his rank and position, the Saint at once be 
came so ashamed of them, as he himself afterwards relates, 
that he could not bring himself to repeat them even to his 
Confessor. Nay more, he regretted them all his life as though 
he had committed a grievous sin. As he had no worse fault 
to repent of, he used for his mortification and shame , when 
he became a religious, to relate this incident to some of his 
intimate friends to show that he had been bad from early 
childhood. And we may believe that God, by a singular provi 
dence, allowed this blot in him, who was afterwards to be 
enriched with so many supernatural gifts and virtues, that 
he might have a subject of humiliation, by seeing a fault, where, 
in fact, from want of age and of knowledge there was no fault, 
so that, as S. Gregory wrote of S. Benedict, 11 he might draw 
back his foot, which he had almost begun to plant in the world. 
When S. Aloysius reached the age of seven, a period 
when philosophers and theologians are agreed that children 
ordinarily have the use of reason, and begin to be capable of 
virtue and of vice, he turned in such a way to God, and so 
dedicated and consecrated himself to the Divine Majesty, that 
he was wont to call it the time of his conversion. And so, 
when giving an account of his interior to the spiritual fathers, 
who were his directors and guides, he used to speak of this as 
one of the most remarkable favours he had received from the 
Divine Hands, that at the age of seven years he was con 
verted from the world to God. And it is easy to gather with 
what heavenly grace he was forestalled and aided at the first 
dawn of reason, from this fact. Four fathers, who were 

12 The Life of Chap. 

his directors and who had heard his confessions, some of 
which were general confessions, at different times, and in various 
places, both when he was in the world, and in religious life, 
deposed in writing, without any mutual concert, that through 
out his Avhole life he never committed a mortal sin, or lost 
the grace which he had- received in baptism. 12 Of these, one 
was Cardinal Bellarmine, who heard the last confession he 
made, shortly before his death. 

This is all the more marvellous, because at the most im 
pressionable age he did not live in cloisters or religious houses, 
where, far removed from occasions of sin, and with the examples 
of the holy lives of so many servants of God, it is so much 
more easy to keep the grace of God than in the world; but 
from his very childhood he began to be at Court. Besides 
being brought up in that of his father, he spent years in the 
Courts of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, of the Duke of Mantua, 
and of the King of Spain, and he had to meet princes and 
lords, and to deal with all sorts of men as occasion might pre 
sent. And yet among the luxuries of his home and amidst 
the snares of Courts, he ever kept his robe of Baptism spotless 
and unsullied. Cardinal Bellarmine was speaking one day of 
the remarkable virtue of S. Aloysius, who was then living, in 
the presence of a number, of whom I was one. He said that 
Divine Providence always keeps some saints in the Church 
Militant who have been confirmed in holiness, and he added 
with good reason the following words: "And I, for my part, 
hold that our Aloysius Gonzaga is one of those who is so con 
firmed, for I know" what passes in his soul." The Cardinal 
added to this beautiful declaration another fact, which will be 
deemed a still greater marvel to whoever understands what 
spiritual life is, and considers who it was that made the state 
ment; and it was that S. Aloysius from the age of seven until 
his death always led a perfect life. What a marvellous pri 
vilege this is, I leave to the intelligence of my readers. 

It would seem that God willed that the very devils should 
bear testimony to the holiness of the child and to the glory 
which was prepared for him in heaven. For a Franciscan 
Friar of the strict Observance was passing through Castiglione at 
that time, whom all held in great opinion of holiness. As 
he was resting at a house of his order, called Santa Maria, a 

II. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 13 

mile or so from Castiglione, a great crowd of people came to 
see him and to commend themselves to his prayers. And as it was 
rumoured that he worked miracles, several possessed persons 
were brought to him that they might be exorcised. The 
Friar went through the exorcisms in the church, in the 
presence of a number of people, some of whom were persons 
of position, among whom were S. Aloysius, then a boy, and 

Certificate of the baptism of S. Aloysius. 
From the parish archives of Castiglione. (See P. I, ch. i.) 

his younger brother. Suddenly the devils began to cry 
out pointing with the hand of the possessed to the Saint: 
"See that boy", they exclaimed, "he it is who will go to 
heaven, and will have great glory." These words were 
remarked and were talked of through all Castiglione; and there 
are people still living, who were there and deposed to the fact. 
And though we should not give faith to the devils, who are 
the fathers of lies, still sometimes they are forced by God 

I 4 The Life of Chap. 

for their greater confusion to tell the truth. We have reason 
to believe that they told it in this case, for even then the holy 
boy was regarded as an angel in his life and behaviour. Every 
day he said, either alone or with others and always on his 
knees, the prayers called the Daily Exercise, the seven penitential 
Psalms, and the Office of our Lady, besides other devotions. 
If anyone wanted to put under his knees a cushion or anything 
else, he would not allow it, but delighted to kneel on the bare floor. 
About this time Aloysius was attacked by quartan ague, 
which lasted for eighteen months, and tried him very severely, 
especially at the beginning, although it did not compel him to 
keep his bed. He bore it with the greatest patience and never 
would omit his Office of Our Lady, the Gradual Psalms, the 
seven Penitential Psalms, and his other ordinary prayers. If 
ever he was more than usually tired, he called some maidservant 
of his mother and made her help him to recite them. But he 
never could be persuaded to give them up altogether. Such 
were the first foundations which Aloysius had laid when seven 
years old;- we cannot be surprised that he afterwards arrived 
at so great a height of perfection, as will be told in the course 
of his life. 


S. Aloysius is taken to Florence by his father. There 

he makes a vow of virginity and progresses greatly in 

the spiritual life. 

l5 77- 

fter the expedition to Tunis, the Marquis Don Fer- 
rante stayed more than two years in the Court of 
Spain. On his return to his Marquisate, he found 
Aloysius no longer as inclined for a soldier s life 
as he had been when he had left him, but quite devout and 
sedate. Astonished as he was to see such sense and ripeness 
in the boy, he was equally delighted at the thought that he 
would prove an excellent ruler of his State. But the child 
now that he was eight years old, was making far different 
plans, and turning over in his mind thoughts of high 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 15 

perfection, which he ventured to disclose one day to his 
mother. He had often heard her say that as God had 
given her several sons, she should be delighted to see one 
of them a religious. So when by themselves he said to her: 
"Mother, you told me you wished to have one of your sons a 
religious. I think God will do you that favour." And at 
another time when in her room he repeated what he had said, 
and added: "I think I shall be the one." The Marchioness 
showed that she did not want to hear of it, as he was the eld 
est son. However she took note of it, and began to believe 

Clock, which was given by a Prince on the occasion of the birth of 
S. Aloysius, according to his Mother s assurance. 

In the College of the "Virgins of Jesus" at Castiglione. 

it, because she saw he was so given to piety. It is true, as 
he declared afterwards when he was a religious, that he made 
no resolution at the time, but continued as usual to live a 
pious life. 

Meanwhile there were rumours through Italy of the 
plague. For this reason the Marquis, who was fearful of the 
contagion, determined to go and live with all his family at 
Monferrato. AVhile there he was attacked by gout, and by 
the advice of medical men he resolved to go to the Baths of 
Lucca and to take his second son Rodolph, on account of 

1 6 The Life of Chap. 

something that was the matter with him, and also Aloysius, 
with the idea of returning by Florence and leaving the two boys 
at the Court of the Grand Duke. This was partly to keep up the 
old friendship which he had formed with that prince at the 
Court of Spain, and partly because his sons would there learn 
Italian more readily. They set out then on their journey 
in the beginning of the summer of 1-677, to the sorrow of the 
Marchioness, who was grieved to see her sons leave her at so 
young an age. The Marquis went straight to the Baths. AVhen 
he had finished the course of waters, he proceeded to Florence, 
and on reaching the neighbourhood of the city and learning 
that a strict guard was kept at its gates against any who were 
suspected of the plague, he returned to the villa of one of his 
friends, Giacopo del Turco, near Fiesole. 

The Marquis informed the ^Grand Duke of his intended 
visit. He received an immediate reply, and entered Florence, 
where he was received by his Highness in his palace with great 
signs of regard. Don Ferrante presented his sons, and the 
Sovereign was so gratified with them that he wanted absolutely 
to make them stay with him in his palace. But as the Mar 
quis was anxious that they should devote themselves to study, 
he wished them not to be at the Court. The Grand Duke con 
sented and assigned them a house in the Via degli Angeli^ The 
Marquis before leaving appointed Signer Peter Francis del Turco 
as their tutor and Majordomo, who afterwards became Major- 
domo to Don Giovanni de Medici, whose fidelity and pru 
dence he had experienced for many years in his own service. 
For body servant he gave them Clement Ghisoni, afterwards 
Majordomo to the Prince of Castiglione; for professor of Latin 
and good manners an excellent priest, Julius Bresciani of Cre 
mona, and other domestics befitting the rank of the two boys. 14 

Aloysius was fully nine years old when his father left him 
in Florence and he stayed there over two years, which he de 
voted to the study of Latin and Italian. On feast days he 
went to Court. Now and then at the outset he played at 
some innocent games, though as far as he was concerned 
he did not like them. Eleanor de Medici, the Duchess of 
Mantua, tells that when her sister Mary, the future Queen of 
France, and herself, who were at the time quite little children, 
invited Aloysius to play with them in the garden, or in their 

HI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. ij 

palace, he would say that he did not care to play, but would 
much rather have made little altars and have spent his time 
in pious things of that kind. At the very beginning of his ar 
rival at Florence, S. Aloysius made great progress in the spirit 
ual life, and for this reason he used to exalt Florence as the 
mother of his piety. He acquired especially such a devotion 
to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin, that when he talked about 
her or meditated on the Mysteries of her life, he seemed to 
melt with holy tenderness. What helped much to this his 
devotion to her was the memorable picture in the Annunziata 
at Florence, and a little book on the Mysteries of the Rosary 
written by Father Caspar Loarte S. J. 15 While reading it 
one day he felt inflamed with the desire of doing some 
thing pleasing to Our Lady. Then the thought came to him 
that it would be most pleasing and acceptable to the most 
holy Queen of Heaven, if he offered and dedicated his vir 
ginity to her by vow, thus to imitate her purity as far as 

One day accordingly while praying in the Church of the 
Annunziata before the picture placed there in her honour, he 
made a vow to God of perpetual chastity. He kept this all 
through his life with such ideality and perfection, that we may 
well understand how pleasing this offering was to God, and 
in particular to the Blessed Virgin who took him under her pro 
tection. His confessors, especially Cardinal Bellarmine in his 
sworn evidence and Father Jerome Piatti in his work in Latin 
at greater length, declare that S. Aloysius in the whole of 
his life never had the least evil sting or any sensation, thought, 
or imagination, contrary to his vow. This so far transcends 
any human power that we can plainly see that it was an 
exceptional gift of God, through the intercession of His 
most holy Mother. Whoever has read how S. Paul, whe 
ther he speaks in his own name, or in that of others, 
three separate times begged God to take away the sting 
of the flesh; how St. Jerome to conquer it used to beat his 
breast with a stone, when he was in the desert, for a long 
time together; how S. Benedict cast himself naked among the 
thorns, as S. Francis did in the snow; how S. Bernard used 
to go up to his neck in ponds of frozen water and re 
main there till all the painful effects of temptation had passed 

X 8 The Life of Chap, 

away, these will know how highly this purity of soul is to 
be esteemed. Very few indeed have been the saints, who, 
by the favour of an extraordinary grace from heaven have 
attained so perfect and so entire an insensibility. And if some 
have attained to it, such a gift has been only obtained by 
many prayers and tears. 

S. Gregory in his Dialogues tells of S. Equitius, the 
abbot, how when in his youth he felt himself molested 
with these evil inclinations, he obtained by means of long 
and continual prayer that God should send an angel [to 
free him entirely from every temptation and feeling as though 
he were no longer in the body. Cassian tells of Abbot 
Serenus that after he had obtained purity of heart and 
mind by severe fasts, prayers, and tears, and like efforts 
both night and day, he also received from an angel so 
perfect a gift of chastity of body, that neither awake or in 
his dreams when asleep had he ever any improper sensation. 
Nearer to our own times, the Angelic Doctor, S. Thomas, when 
he drove away his tempter with burning faggots, was girt by 
the hand of Angels and received this truly angelic favour. 
This holy absence of bodily feeling, this purity of mind in 
S. Aloysius cannot be attributed to him because of any natural 
coldness and sluggishness, for he was full of life and spirit, 
activity and alertness, as all knew who were acquainted with 
him. We are obliged then to own that it was the result of an 
extraordinary grace from God, and a remarkable favour of the 
most blessed Virgin, towards whom he ever had a great rever 
ence and filial affection and confidence. True it is that he 
cooperated in the preservation of this gift by the great care he 
ever had over his senses. So, though he felt no annoyance of 
this kind, still out of his great love for the virtue of purity, he 
put himself from that time on his guard, and he watched over 
himself and his senses with a constant and extraordinary diligence; 
and especially with regard to his eyes, which he kept in check 
in order that they might never transgress by looking at any 
thing which could at all be a source of disquiet to him. This 
was one of the reasons why he ever passed through the streets 
with downcast eyes. But above all he disliked all his life 
long to have to talk or to deal with women. He fled their 
company to such a degree, that anyone who saw him 

HI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. in 

would have said he had an inborn antipathy to them. If by 
chance while he was at Castiglione his mother sent any of her 
ladies-in-waiting to take him a message, he came to the door 
so as not to let them in, and at once fixed his eyes on the 
ground and gave his answer without looking at them, and so 
sent them away. He did not even like talking with his mother 

S. Aloysius at six years of age. 

Oil painting in the Parlour of the College of the "Virgins of Jesus" 
at Castiglione. 

alone. When it chanced that while he was with her, either in 
the drawing room or in her own private room, those who were 
with her chanced to leave, he either sought for some excuse 
to go away, or if he could not go he blushed deeply, so exceed 
ingly careful and circumspect was he. A learned man asked 
him one day, for he had noticed what he did, why he avoided 
women to such a degree, and even his own mother. He tried 
to conceal his motive and to show that it was through a natural 

2 o The Life of Chap, 

shyness rather than from a motive of virtue. One of the agree 
ments he made with his father was that he would, as in duty 
bound, obey him in every thing at once, save as to meeting 
ladies. And the Marquis, who saw how firm he was on that 
point, kept the agreement in order not to annoy him. In fact 
S. Aloysius said that he had never seen some ladies who 
were near relations to him. So well was his way of acting 
known to every one, that at home he used to be called in 
joke, the womanhater. 

When at Florence he began also to go much more fre 
quently to confession than he had done at Castiglione, and 
his tutor chose for his confessor, Father Francis della Torre, 
then Rector of the College of the Society. 16 The first time 
he went to him to confession he prepared at home with great 
diligence, and then presented himself before his confessor with 
such reverence and respect and with as much shame and con 
fusion as if he had been the greatest sinner in the world. The 
moment he knelt at the feet of his confessor he fainted, and his 
tutor had to come to his assistance and take him back to his house. 
On his return to his confessor he wished to make a general 
examination into all his sins. AVe often heard him tell, when he 
was in the Society, that during his stay at Florence he had 
made a general confession of all his life to the great comfort 
of his soul. This was the occasion when he entered more deeply 
into himself and began a more strictly spiritual life, subjecting 
each of his actions to careful scrutiny, to see if he could dis 
cover the origin of his faults and thus be able to correct them. 
First of all he found that he had a hot temper, he was easily 
attacked by slight feelings of passion, and gave way to 
anger; and although it was so slight as not to be noticeable, 
still it caused some disturbance and trouble in his soul. Ac 
cordingly to conquer himself, he began to consider how vile it 
was to get angry, which he said was plainly to be seen, for 
when the mind is again at rest you perceive that all the time 
a man was in anger, he was not entire master of himself. 
Moved by this thought he determined for the future to resist 
this fault and thoroughly root it out of his soul. By the aid 
of God s grace and by painstaking, in a very short time 
he gained a complete victory, and to such a degree that it 
appeared as if he had no inclination to anger. 

Ill- S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 21 

Besides this he remarked that, in conversation, words very 
often escaped his lips which in some way affected the good 
name of others, although as he himself said they were hardly 
venial sins. He was so grieved however at this, that in order 
not to have to accuse himself of these things again, he with 
drew from conversation and from meeting with people, not 
merely persons outside, but even those at home; and he 
generally lived alone and in retirement, so as neither to say or 
hear anything which could in any way stain the purity of 
his conscience. People on that account took him to be gloomy 
and scrupulous, but this he did not mind. He became much 
more obedient to his superiors; his tutor declared that he never 
disobeyed his orders in the slightest thing. If he saw his 
younger brother Rodolph angry at the corrections of his tutor 
or professor, he would lovingly admonish him, and entreat him 
to obey. He gave his commands to the servants with such 
respect and so modestly that they were put to the blush. His 
way of speaking to them was thus: "Could you just do that, if 
convenient," or, "If it would not trouble you, I should be glad 
of this;" or something of the kind. He spoke so agreeably 
and showed such compassion for the servants that they became 
deeply attached to him. 

He was so modest that he used to blush when his atten 
dant was dressing him in the morning. He kept his eyes down 
and had scarcely put his foot out of bed, before he put on his 
stockings, so much did he dislike to be seen undressed. Every 
day he heard Mass, and on feast days Vespers also. He had 
at that time no knowledge of mental prayer; but he gave him 
self up to vocal prayer; he said the Daily Exercise morning and 
night, and other devotions, as has already been mentioned, 
always on his knees, with the greatest attention. Though at that 
period he had no fixed purpose of leaving the world, he had 
a. firm resolve, if he remained in it, to lead as holy and perfect 
a life as possible. S. Aloysius at such an early age had 
reached a ripeness of virtue and a degree of perfection which 
many hardly arrive at after many years in religious life. 

Saint Aloysius. 

The Life of Chap. 


S. Aloysius is recalled to Mantua and there makes up 
his mind to enter the Priesthood. 


aint Aloysius had been more than two years at Flo 
rence, when his father was made governor of Monferrato 
by William, Duke of Mantua. The Marquis wished 
his sons to come and reside at Mantua, and, with 
the approval of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, S. Aloysius went 
there in November iSyg, 17 being then nine years and eight 
months old. He continued the practices and way of living he 
had begun at Florence, and made another resolution not less 
important, to allow Rodolph, his younger brother, to enjoy the 
Marquisate of Castiglione, of which he himself as the eldest 
son had received by name the investiture from the Emperor. 
An illness which he had, helped to this resolution; although he 
had already, as has been said, determined never to marry. He 
suffered from strangury. Out of fear lest the ill should increase, 
he resolved with the approval of the medical man by a severe 
regime to strike at the root of this troublesome disease, and 
he began to maintain so rigorous an abstinence that it is a won 
der that he did not die. For if he eat a whole egg for one 
meal, and this he rarely did, he considered he had had an 
abundant banquet. 

This severe fast he continued not merely while that year 
at Mantua, but during the summer at Castiglione, against 
the judgment of the doctor and of every one else; and 
this, as he told Father Jerome Piatti, when he was a religious, 
no longer for the sake of his health, as people used to 
imagine, but out of devotion. For though in the beginning 
he had set himself to that severe fast to regain his health, by 
little and little he got to be attached to that way of living, 
and had begun through a spirit of piety to delight in it. How 
ever much this manner of action contributed to free him from 
his inconvenience, for he never again suffered from it all his 
life, it was otherwise most hurtful to him, for his stomach from 

IV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 23 

the little food he took grew so weak that however much he 
might have wished it, he could neither take nor retain nourish 
ment. The result was that though up to that time he had been 
rather stout and healthy looking, he became thin and withered. 
The vigour and the strength which he naturally possessed 
failed him, for he was of a good physique, and he fell into 
such a great and continuous languor that his constitution was 

Yet he derived this advantage from it for his soul, that 
his bad state of health served as an excuse for not joining 
in any amusements, which he would have been obliged to do, 
when with the Duke of Mantua, had he been in good health. 
Consequently he rarely left the house, and when he did so it 
was either to visit a church, to call at some religious house to 
converse on some holy topics, or he went to the palace of his 
uncle; Prosper Gonzaga. 18 The moment he entered he went to 
pray in the domestic chapel; afterwards he talked with his uncle 
and with others in the house on spiritual subjects, with such 
fervour and lofty ideas that he astonished all who heard him, 
and every one from that time admired him and took him to 
be a saint. The rest of the time he remained alone and retired 
in his own house, either reading Surio s lives of the Saints, 
which he liked very much, saying Office, or other spiritual de 
votional exercises. He added to them so much, that as all 
society became more and more distasteful to him, he grew 
more fond of this hidden life, and finally resolved to resign 
the Marquisate to Rodolph, and to take to the ecclesiastical 
state. Not that he wanted Church dignities, for he always re 
fused them when, on several occasions and by different persons, 
they had been offered him, but only to be able in that state to. 
give himself entirely with greater peace and freedom to the ser 
vice of God. As soon as he had positively made this resolution, 
he began to urge his father to free him from his occupations 
at Court, so as to devote himself more easily to his studies, 
but he did not tell him the determination he had come to. 

24 The Life of Chap. 


Return to Castiglione. He receives from God the gift 
of prayer and begins to frequent the Sacraments. 

i58o. j 

hen the winter was over, as the Gonzaga family was 
generally accustomed to go every year to spend the 
hot months in different places, the Marquis wrote 
that Aloysius with his younger brother should go 
to Castiglione to try if his native air, which was excellent, would 
agree with him better than that of Mantua. 19 Doubtless we may 
believe that it was of great benefit to him, because of its charm 
ing position, on a hill open to all the breezes and with a 
magnificent view. This would have completely cured him, if he 
had but given up somewhat the austere life which he had begun 
at Mantua, not to speak of the great care his mother took of 
him. But he was more anxious about the welfare of his soul 
than of his body, and did not at all diminish his spiritual prac 
tices; in fact he rather increased them. Besides the extreme 
abstinence which he kept, he for the most part lived in seclu 
sion and avoided all sorts of society, so as to attend to his 
devotions. As every day he cut himself off more and more, and 
withdrew from the world to unite himself to God, so God, Who 
ever lovingly recognises anyone who is faithful in His service, 
did not delay to show how pleased He was with the pious 
and holy feelings with which this youth of twelve dedicated 
himself to Him. 

Up to this time he had had no education nor practice 
in mental prayer and contemplation. God was Himself to be 
his master and instructor. He found this pure soul well pre 
pared, and He opened to it the depths of His divine secrets 
and led him into the inmost recesses of His treasure-house. He 
lit up his mind with a heavenly and supernatural light. He taught 
him the way to meditate, and to contemplate the greatness and 
wonders of God, in a far more exalted way than any diligence 
of man could have done. S. Aloysius, when he saw this door 
opened so mercifully to him, and so large a field granted him 

V. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 25 

to feed the affection of his soul, became almost totally occupied 
in meditation. He contemplated, at one time the most holy 
mysteries of our redemption, at another the greatness of God s 
attributes, with such delight and internal joy, that for the great 

Casalmaggiore at the 

After an old pen and ink drawing in 

A. Plan. 

B. Church of the Cross. Barnabite College. 

C. Church of the Trinity. Hospital for 

Orphan Boys. 

D. Oratory of the Immaculate Conception. 

E. Church of S. John Baptist. 

F. Convent of S. Clare of the Poor Clares. 

G. Parish Church of S. Stephen. 

H. Church of S.Lawrence of the Capuchin 

(See P. I, ch. 

time of S. Aloysius. 

the Municipality of Casalmaggiore. 

I. Church of S. Francis of the Conventual 


L. S. Mary s Church of the Servite Fathers. 
M. Provostship of S. Leonard. 
N. Hospital of S. Mary "del Popolo". 
O. Church of S. Roch. 
P. Prison. 

Q. S. Lucy. Guild Hall. 
R. Hospital of S. Christopher for Orphan 


S. Church of S. Sebastian. 
2 and note 8.) 

sweetness he felt in his soul, he was obliged almost continually 
to shed abundant tears, which bathed* his clothes and the very 
room in which he lived. For this reason he spent the greater 
part of his day shut up in his chamber, for fear lest if he went 

26 The Life of Chap. 

out he should lose that tender feeling of devotion, or that his 
tears and agitation should be noticed. Those who waited on 
him in his room noticed this, and so they often looked through 
the chinks of the doors, and were astonished to see that for 
whole hours he would lie prostrate before a crucifix with his 
arms extended, or crossed on his heart, as he gazed on the 
image of his Lord, all the while crying so bitterly that his sobs 
and sighs could be heard outside. After this, very often, they 
noticed that he grew silent and remained as if rapt in quiet ecstasy 
and motionless, even his eyelids fixed, as if he were a statue. 
During that time he was so abstracted that if his tutor or his 
servants, as they have told me, passed through his room and 
made a noise, he neither heard nor noticed it. 

As these things got bruited about, other persons, not of 
the house, were often allowed to gaze through these chinks, 
and were quite amazed. Often too the domestics of our Saint 
heard him, as he went up stairs, say a Hail Mary at every step; 
and about the house, and in the streets, in carriage or on foot, 
he was always thinking on some mystery of heaven. Nor had 
S. Aloysius any other master in this practice of prayer, as has 
been said, than the unction of the Holy Spirit. But though he 
knew how to meditate, yet he did not know what order or subject 
to take, till he came across a little book of Blessed Peter Canisius, 
in which there were some points arranged in order for medit 
ation. 20 From this work not only did S. Aloysius gather courage 
to meditate, but he was also taught what method to follow and 
at what time to make his meditation. Up to that period he had 
no fixed time, but meditated just as he had the opportunity, 
and when fervour moved him; sometimes he did more, sometimes 
less. But he always gathered from his meditation great light for 
the mind, and his heart was greatly moved and filled with heavenly 
sweetness. It was this book and the Letters from the Indies, 21 
as he afterwards related, which especially made him love the 
Society of Jesus; the work of B. Peter Canisius, because he liked 
its plan exceedingly, and still more the spirit in which it was 
written, which seemed to him very much fitted to his character; 
and the Letters, because he learned from them the work of con 
version of the heathen, which God was bringing about by means 
of the Fathers in those countries. They set his soul too on fire 
with the desire to spend his life in like labours for the salvation 

V. S.. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 27 

of souls, and, he considered how, as far as he was able at 
that early age, he could help to that end. So he began to go 
every Sunday and holiday to the catechism schools and devoted 
himself with great zeal to instruct other children, and to teach 
them the truths of faith and how to lead good lives. And this he 
did with great modesty and humility, lowering himself before all 
his tenants, and before the poor in particular, in such a way as 
to move all to piety who saw him. Besides, if he noticed any 
quarrel among the domestics of the palace he tried to make 
peace or if he heard them curse or make use of- any bad words, 
he corrected them. If he knew that any of his tenants were 
leading a bad life he reproved them in all gentleness and strove 
to obtain a change for the better, nor could he tolerate any 
offence against God. All his conversations were about the things 
of God, and he spoke with wonderful authority. One day he 
went with his mother to Tortona on a visit to the Duchess of 
Lorraine, 22 who was passing through with the Duchess of Bruns 
wick, her daughter; and the attendants of Christina on hearing 
him talk were quite amazed and declared that had they heard 
but not seen him, they would have said it was an old man of great 
intelligence, and not a child, who spoke such high things of God. 
About the same time, in i58o, the holy Cardinal, 
S. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, was appointed 
by Pope Gregory XIII. Apostolic Visitor of the bishoprics of 
his province, and he was engaged in the visitation of Brescia. 
He arrived at Castiglione in July with a suite of only seven 
persons. To save expense to the ecclesiastics with whom he 
stayed he would not have any more attendants. Besides many 
other apostolic works in which he was engaged at Castiglione, 
he wished to preach on July 22, the feast of S. Mary Magdalen, 
in his archbishop s vestments to the people, and accordingly he 
made a sermon which bore great fruit in San Nazario, the 
chief Church in that place. The Marquis and his wife 
wished him to take up his abode in the castle where they 
lived: but he would never do so, and preferred to stay in the 
house of the parish priest which was next to the Church. There 
S. Aloysius, who was then twelve years and four months old 
came to visit him. He was delighted to see the little angel, so 
highly favoured by God, and he made him remain so long with 
him in his room to talk on heavenly things, that those waiting 

28 The Life of Chap. 

outside were quite annoyed. It was a great consolation to the 
good cardinal to see how so tender a plant, in the midst of the 
thorns of earthly courts, without the help of human hand, and 
by the aid of heavenly influences alone, had grown up so strong 
and beautiful and had reached such a height of Christian per 
fection. On his part, the holy boy was delighted to have found 
someone to whom he could with confidence open his heart and 
ask for a solution of the doubts which he met with in the spirit 
ual life. He had heard the cardinal spoken of generally as a saint, 
and so he took his words and the advice he gave him to go 
forward in the life he had begun , as if they came from an oracle 
of God. The Cardinal asked him if he had been to Communion 
and when he said he had not, S. Charles who saw how pure 
was his life, how ripe his judgment and knew what great light 
he had from God about heavenly things, not only urged him 
to approach the holy table, 23 but obtained permission to give 
Aloysius his first Communion. He then encouraged him to go 
frequently, and in a short instruction, taught him how to prepare 
for it and how to approach this fountain of grace. He advised 
him moreover often to use the Catechism of the Council of 
Trent which S. Pius V. had printed in accordance with its decrees. 
The saintly Cardinal had so high an opinion of that work 
for the exquisite Latinity in which it is written, that he considered 
it ought to be made use of in Grammar schools instead of 
Cicero and the pagan writers, so that with the knowledge of 
the language, piety might also to be instilled into young minds. 
He actually introduced this custom into the Seminary at Milan. 
But he learned clearly by experience that the plan would not 
succeed; he changed his opinion and returned again to the clas 
sical authors. In conclusion, he bade good bye to Aloysius, 
with many a blessing and proofs of a very special affection. 
The holy youth never forgot the holy Cardinal s lessons, 
and from that time he studied the Catechism with great delight, 
for he found it full of holy learning and Christian instruction, 
and because he had been advised to do so by the Saint, whom 
he held, and with reason, in great veneration. He used also to 
advise others to read the book, citing the authority of him who 
had so strongly recommended it. 

It was then that he began to go frequently to Communion, 
and it is not easy to imagine what great preparation he made 

V. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 29 

worthily to receive this Divine Sacrament. First of all he exam 
ined with extraordinary care and exactness all his past life to 
see if he could find within himself any thing displeasing in the 
eyes of the Divine Guest, whom he was expecting. He then went 
to confession, which he made with such humility, such deep feel 
ing of sorrow, and so many tears, as were a lesson to his con 
fessor. And this particularly as his sins were not so much of 
commission as of omission. For S. Aloysius was under the 
belief that he never corresponded by his acts and exertions with 
the light God was giving him in order to push forward to higher 
perfection. More than this, during all the days preceding his 
Communion, his every thought and word were about the Blessed 
Sacrament He used to read about It, direct all his prayers and 
meditations to It; and these were so frequent, that they used to 
say in his palace, that it seemed as if he wanted to speak to 
the walls; so often did he kneel down to pray in one corner 
or another of the house. 

What were the acts of internal devotion on his first and 
subsequent Communions, what the loving affection which passed 
in his soul on going to the Sacred Table, God alone knows, 
Who saw his heart. I have not found any one who could tell 
me. This only I read in the processes, that at Communion he 
was exceedingly recollected, and received abundant consolation; 
and that he shewed very great devotion in his exterior. After 
Communion he remained a long time on his knees in presence 
of every one; and from this time forward he frequently went to 
the Altar. His mother adds to this a thing worth noting, which 
had been remarked by others at different times. It was that 
henceforth, S. Aloysius had such a very great devotion towards 
the Blessed Sacrament that every morning when he heard Mass, 
as soon as the priest had consecrated, he was moved to a flood 
of tears, which were seen to run down upon the ground. He 
had this gift of tears all his life; and when he went to Communion 
on Sundays and holidays, he wept still more abundantly. 

3 o The Life of Chap. 


S. Aloysius. goes to Monferrato ; he runs great danger 
on the way, and he determines to become a religious. 


Phile the Marquis Don Ferrante continued to live at 
Casale di Monferrato, the residence of the Governor, 
a letter reached him from Castiglione. This inform 
ed him that though Aloysius was cured, as it was 
thought, of his first indisposition, still, owing to his excessive 
abstinence, he was so weak and his stomach so deranged, as not 
to be able to retain, much less to digest his food. Nor was 
there any improvement to be seen, because he took no steps to 
procure it. The Marquis, full of anxiety about the life and 
health of his son, in the hopes that if he had him near him 
he could the better cure his indisposition, or at all events prevent 
it from growing worse, bade Aloysius to come and join him, with 
his mother and Rodolph. Accordingly towards the end of the 
summer of i58o, they all left Castiglione for Monferrato. 

During this journey Aloysius ran a great risk of his life. 
They were crossing a ford of a branch of the Ticino, which 
has to be passed on the way, and it was very flooded on account 
of recent rain. The carriage in which were Aloysius, his tutor 
and Rodolph, broke in two in the middle of the stream. The 
front part in which Rodolph was sitting was still fast to the 
horses, and, though not without difficulty, was brought safely 
to the opposite bank, where the other carriages had already 
arrived. The back part of the carriage with S. Aloysius and 
his tutor was carried by the current some way down the stream, 
with evident danger of death to both. For if it had been 
upset, Aloysius at least would have been drowned. But Provi 
dence watched over the saintly boy, and willed that this part of 
the carriage should strike against a large trunk of a tree, which 
the rush of water had carried into the middle of the stream, 
and there it remained, until those who were on the bank sum 
moned to their aid a man acquainted with the depths and shallows 
of the river. He mounted a horse, rescued Aloysius, and putting 

VI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 31 

the boy behind him brought him safely to the shore; he then 
returned and in the same way saved the tutor. The whole 
party went to a Church hard by to give thanks to God for 
having rescued them from such danger. Meanwhile the report 
spread abroad that the two were drowned, and the Marchioness 
who had gone forward in the first carriage, when she heard the 
news, ^turned back in great anxiety and sorrow; but she met them 
all after a short drive. The rumour even spread to the ears of 
the Marquis at Casale, who dispatched a courier to learn the 
truth, nor could he rest until he knew the facts. But his 

Country House Fontanella belonging to James del Turco at Fiesole, 

in which S. Aloysius often stayed. 

(See P. I, ch. 3 and note 10.) 

peace of mind was restored to him by the arrival of his wife 
and children. 

S. Aloysius remained at Monferrato more than six months. 
Besides his progress in Latin, in which he was already far ad 
vanced, he made still greater progress in the spiritual life. In 
this he found great help from his holy and excellent acquain 
tances, the Fathers of S. Paul, who are commonly called Barna- 
bites from their church of S. Barnabas at Milan. He often 
went to see them and used to go confession and Communion 
in their Church, and he gained in a short time a still greater 
light as how to progress in the way of God. As day by day 
he was, by his acts of virtue, making himself more fit to receive 

32 The Life of .Chap. 

new graces from above, so God, by pouring fresh lights and 
fresh inspirations into his soul, was ever lifting him upwards to 
desires of still higher perfection, and detaching him more and 
more from every thing on earth. Though the Marquis at first 
when S. Aloysius arrived, did his best to distract him, and offered 
him plenty of opportunities of amusement and pleasure, the Saint 
never allowed himself to be turned away from his ordinary 
spiritual duties. His recreation consisted in either visiting and 
praying, as he often did, at a very celebrated and much fre 
quented shrine of the Madonna near by, called Our Lady of 
Crea; or retiring to the Convent of the Capuchin Fathers, or 
to the house of the Barnabites to talk with them on spiritual 
subjects. He found in both a spirit so kindred to his own, 
that he seemed as if he knew not how to tear himself away 
from them. He especially admired in. them their outward 
gaiety, which he found so common amongst them, the little 
esteem they had for temporal things, their regular hours for 
prayer and chanting, the undisturbed quiet in their houses, their 
indifference as to whether they lived or died. These things 
gave him a wish to choose a like state of life. 

One day in particular, when with the Barnabites, S. Aloysius 
began to consider the happiness of religious, how they had by 
renouncing the world and laying aside all earthly cares so as 
to serve God more freely, put God Himself under the obligation 
of seeing after them. He kept on saying to himself as he 
afterwards told me and others at Rome: "See Aloysius, what a 
great good a religious life is! These Fathers are set free from 
all the snares of the world, and are far away from every oc 
casion of sin. The time that worldlings spend so uselessly in 
going after the good things of this world, which pass away, and 
after empty pleasures, they devote very meritoriously to gaining 
real treasure in Heaven. They are certain that their holy labours 
cannot perish. Religious in very truth live according to reason; 
nor do they allow themselves to be tyrannised over by their sen 
ses or by their passions. They are not ambitious for honours, they 
prize no earthly and transitory treasures, feel no sting of jeal 
ousy, no envy of another s good. They feel content only in 
God s service. Cm servire regnare est Whom to serve is to 
reign. AVhat wonder then if they are all happy and gay; no 
fear of death, judgment, or hell! For they live with their souls 

VI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 33 

unstained by sin. Night and day they are ever making fresh 
gains, and they are always occupied in hoi}- actions with God 
or for God. The witness of their conscience keeps them in 
peace and inward tranquillity, the source of that calm which is 
seen in their face, of the well-grounded hope they have of 
heavenly treasures. At the remembrance of Him, Whom they are 
serving, and in Whose court they are living, who would not be 

"What are you doing? What are you thinking about? Why 
do you not choose such a state for yourself? See the grand pro 
mises which God has made about it! See the facility you would 
have to attend without disturbance to your devotions? Supposing 
you cede the Marquisate to your brother Rodolph, as you have 
determined to do, and still continue to live with him, perhaps 
you will have to witness many things that will not be pleasing 
to you. If you are silent, then you will have remorse of con 
science; if you say anything, it will either give offence, or it 
will not be heeded. And even if you become a priest or an 
ecclesiastic, will you gain your end by that? Rather you will 
take upon yourself a graver obligation of leading a perfect life, 
which people in the world have not; and in some ways you will 
be exposed to greater temptations than those who are married. 
In any case you will be subject to the obligations of social life, 
and as long as you are in the world you will have to pay heed 
to them. You will have to meet first one gentleman, then another. 
If you keep away from ladies and your female relations, you 
will be criticised. If you meet them and visit them, you break 
your resolution. If you accept ecclesiastical dignities you will 
be far more immersed in worldly affairs than you are at present; 
if you refuse them, your friends will think little of you, and will 
say you disgrace your family, and will use a thousand ways to 
induce you to accept them. Whereas if you become a religious, 
at one blow you will cut off all these hindrances, bar the door 
to every peril, deliver yourself from all worldly obligations, and 
put yourself in a state wherein you can always enjoy perfect 
peace and serve God with perfection." 

These and like arguments were passing through S. Aloysius 
brain at the time, as he used to narrate, and they kept him 
many days so abstracted and perplexed that all at home per 
ceived that something important must be brewing in his mind, 


. as he was e ver deeply absorbed in thought, but no one dared 
to ask what was the matter. At last after having prayed fre 
quently to God to enlighten him in a matter of such importance, 
and after he had made a number of ( ommunions for that intention, 
he came to the conclusion that (iod had called him to religious 
life, and he determined to leave the world altogether, and 
enter some order, where besides his vow of virginity he might 
observe also those of obedience and evangelical poverty. As 
however he was not then quite thirteen, and could not carry 
out his idea, he did not wish to make a resolution about any 
order in particular, nor tell any one of his resolve. The Barna- 
bites Fathers however could almost read his mind, and they 
thought he would one day join them. S. Aloysius then began 
a still stricter life, and, though in the world and at the court, 
to live as if he wen; a religious. In consequence he kept much 
more than ever in his room. Me had aluavs been accustomed 
to have a lire during the winter, because his delicate frame 
suffered very much from the cold which swelled and chapped his 
hands. Hut from that time he formed a resolution not to light a 
lire again, nor to have a bra/.ier, nor did he in fact ever go near 
one. If when he was in society he was forced to do so, he 
took such a position as not to derive any warmth from the fire. 
AYluMi any of the household brought him remedies for his 
chapped hands, he seemed to accept them YIT\ gratefully and 
lie was grateful for them, but he put them aside and never made 
any use of them, so as to have something to suiter lor the love 
of (iod. 

The Saint always shunned crowds, and still more plays, 
dinners, and balls; and though his father invited him to recreate 
himself and sometimes got angry at his living so retired a 
life, S. Aloysius never would go. liven when the whole house 
were invited he remained at home, either meditating, or 
spending the time with one or two learned and grave men, con 
versing with them on literature or matters of piety, or he would 
go to the Capuchins or Hamabites, to pass his leisure in holy 
conversation, for he had no taste for the pastimes of the world. 
Once the Marquis took his son to Milan to see a review of the 
cavalry of the Duke of Milan, at which his father, on account 
of his position, and many other gentlemen were obliged to be 
present. An immense number of people had flocked together 

VI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 35 

to see it because it took place very seldom, and as it was 
such a beautiful sight. Aloysius could not avoid going, 
without annoying his father, who was determined he should be 
present. So he discovered a means of escape, which was to 
occupy one of the back places, from which he would not 
have a good view, and, as far as he could, he kept his eyes 
either closed or turned in an opposite direction. 

Riccardi Palace, 
Residence of Don Francis di Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 

in which S. Aloysius during his two years stay in Florence was a page of the Prince. 
(See P. I, ch. 3.) t 

In a word it may be said that he passed his childhood 
without ever having been a child. For never was there noticed 
in him the smallest act of levity. Nor did he ever read a bad 
or light book. Those he delighted in were, and Lipo- 
mano. Of classical writers he used to read those who treated 
on moral questions, such as Seneca, Plutarch, and Valerius 
Maximus. He used to employ the examples he gathered from 
them whenever an occasion presented itself to exhort people to 

36 The Life of Chap. 

live Christian and moral lives. He spoke so wisely on virtue 
and the things of God, whether to a number of people, or 
to only one, that every one was amazed at his great eloquence 
and fervour, and they declared that the knowledge of the boy 
must have been infused and not acquired, for it was far 
beyond the capacity of one so young. The consequence was 
that his family though they remarked his way of living and did 
not wish him to be so austere to himself, so retired, and such 
a hater of the world, yet they were so struck by his extraordin 
ary prudence and virtue that the}- did not dare to say "Why 
do that?", and they left him to himself to do just as he wished. 


S. Aloysius returns with his father to Castiglione. He 
leads a most austere life and is saved almost miracul 
ously in a fire. 


hen the Marquis had finished his term of office as 
governor of Monferrato, he came back with his 
family to Castiglione. S. Aloysius not only con 
tinued while there in his devotions and his usual 
practices of austere penance, but he so multiplied them that 
the wonder is that he did not get seriously ill and utterly ruin 
his constitution, and that his parents who saw what he was doing 
did not absolutely insist on preventing them. Besides the 
strict abstinence which he had begun, as has been said, at 
Mantua, and which he had ever after continued, he kept a 
number of regular fasts, usually at least three days a week; 
every Saturday in honour of the Blessed Virgin; and always 
on Fridays upon bread and water in memory of Our Saviour s 
Passion. On that day he merely took in the morning three 
slices of bread dipped in water, and nothing more until 
supper time, when he eat a bit of toast also dipped in water. 
On Wednesdays, he fasted, sometimes on bread and water, 
and sometimes in the ordinary way. Besides these fasts, he 
kept others either when the opportunity occurred, or when led 

VII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 37 

by devotion and fervour. But he ordinarily eat so very little 
that some people in his father s service were amazed how he 
contrived to live, and they once resolved, without his knowing 
it, to weigh the food he usually took for one meal. They de 
posed on oath that with bread and condiments it did not reach 
one ounce. This falls so far short of the usual requirements 
of nature, that one is forced to say that God miraculously 
preserved the Saint s life, just as we read He did with other 
saints. For it does not seem possible that anyone, without 
the help of some such extraordinary aid could maintain life 
with so little food. 

S. Aloysius was accustomed always at table to help him 
self to that dish which appeared to him the least inviting, and 
when he had tasted a little of it he left it without touching any 
thing else. Later on he wished that the little food he eat when 
not fasting, should be weighed. For he said that the quantity 
he took was enough to support life, and that anything beyond 
that ought to be avoided as superfluous, so narrowly did he 
measure every thing. As to the amount of food, besides many 
others, his carver in particular, his special attendant, and the 
waiters at table, through whose hands his meals passed, gave 
sworn evidence on the subject. To this rigorous abstinence, 
he joined other bodily austerities. He disciplined himself to 
blood, at least three times a week. And during the last years 
he spent in the world, he scourged himself every day, and 
finally even three times each day and this even to blood. As 
at first he had not got a discipline, he beat himself sometimes 
with dogs leashes, which he chanced to have, or with pieces of 
rope, and so some have said with an iron chain. Oftentimes 
those who waited on him, found him on his knees in his room 
taking the discipline; and, when they made his bed, they discovered 
hidden under the bolster the scourges of cord, which he used. 
Several times his sheets were shown to his mother, all stained 
with blood. When the marquis learnt this, he scolded his son, 
as he had done several times before. And once he said in 
sorrow to his wife; "This son of ours wishes to kill himself." 
Very often S. Aloysius took a small plank or any other bit 
of wood, and put it under the sheets, so that he might sleep 
as uncomfortably as possible. And that even during the day 
his body might not be free from constant suffering, as he 

Saint Aloysius. 

38 The Life of Chap. 

had not a hair shirt, he used, in its place, to wear spurs tied 
around his body, a thing perfectly new and unheard of. The 
points of the rowels, stuck into his delicate skin, and tortured 
him acutely. AVe can gather from all this how thoroughly he 
had given himself to the spiritual life, as without human 
direction, at the age of thirteen and a half, in the midst of the 
comforts of his home, he treated his body so roughly. 

The holy boy joined to these fasts and penances, mental 
exercises and especially prayer. And so diligent was he in 
this that some officials of his father s palace depose in the 
processes that they never entered his apartments without find 
ing him actually engaged in prayer, and that they very often 
had to wait a long time outside the room, before he had 
finished. Every morning as soon as he got up he made a 
meditation of an hour s length, which he measured by his fer 
vour rather than by the clock. He then recited his other ordinary 
prayers. He heard one or more Masses every morning, and 
often served them with very special pleasure. Besides this, he 
attended Divine Office with the religious of the place, to their 
great edification and he was an example to all. The rest of his 
time, he generally shut himself up in his room, and either 
read spiritual books, or meditated. In the evening, before going 
to bed he used to stay for an hour or two in prayer, and he 
seemed as if he never knew when to stop. But his servants, 
who were waiting outside to put him to bed, far from growing 
weary were edified by his conduct and passed the time watching 
through the chinks of the door his acts of piety, or followed 
his example and said their prayers. 

In fine, S. Aloysius lived in such retirement and spent 
such a long time in meditation that we might truly say that he 
was always praying. His father several times complained that 
he could not get him to leave his room and he told Father Pros 
per Malavolta 24 that he had often found the spot where his 
son prayed all bathed with tears. If on account of any business 
S. Aloysius was forced to leave his room, he did not allow 
himself to be disturbed in his meditations. For the subject 
he meditated upon in the morning whether it was the Passion 
of Our Lord, or any other mystery, so deeply was it im 
pressed on his imagination that whatever else he was doing he 
always kept his thoughts fixed on the subject which he had 

VII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 39 

been considering. He was not satisfied with his daily and his 
evening meditation, but he would pray even at night time. 
Accordingly he usually got up at midnight, without letting his 
servants know; and while the others were in bed, he knelt down 
in the dark, in the middle of his room, in nothing but his 
shirt, and without anything against which to rest. And he spent 
in this way a great part of the night in holy contemplation, 
and that, not in summer time only, but in the depths of winter 
with the bitter cold of Lombardy. So bitter was it that it made 
him shiver from head to foot, and this somewhat hindered 
him from applying his mind. But he was determined to conquer 

Peter Francis del Turco, Preceptor of S. Aloysius. 
After an oil painting in the possession of the family of Ranieri del Turco SassatelH 

at Florence. 
(See P. I, ch. 2, 3, 6, 17 and note 10. P. II, note 25.) 

himself, and such efforts did he make to keep his mind fixed 
on what he was meditating, that he became like one lost to 
sense and felt no longer the pain of the cold. However, his 
frame was so weakened and robbed of vital power, that he 
could not kneel upright, and as he would neither sit, nor lean 
against anything, he used to fall, thus lightly clad, upon the bare 
and cold pavement. In this position he continued his medi 
tation, and wonderful it is that he did not contract some serious 
illness and that he was not frozen even to death. 

From these efforts, and from the violence that S. Aloysius 
did to himself to remain recollected in his prayer, he con- 

4O The Life of Chap. 

tracted a severe headache which tortured him throughout his 
whole life. But out of a desire to suffer and be like in some 
what to Christ Our Lord in his crowning with thorns, not only 
did he seek for no remedy to free himself from it, but he 
strove to maintain and increase it, as that suffering served him 
as a memorial of the Passion , was an occasion of merit, and 
was ordinarily no hindrance to his doing what he wished. Once 
however it happened that a more severe attack forced him 
to go to bed earlier than usual. But when in bed he 
remembered that he had not that day, as he was wont, 
recited the seven penitential psalms. He determined not 
to close his eyes before doing so. The saint accordingly 
bade a servant to put a candle near his bed and then dis 
missed him. When he had finished the psalms, what with 
his headache and what with sleepiness he dozed off without 
remembering to put out the candle. The fire crept around little 
by little and spread all about, so that without bursting into flame, 
it caught the bed curtain, a palliasse and three mattrasses. 

S. Aloysius awoke and feeling a great heat all around, 
thought he was in fever, and he thought so all the more 
readily, because he had lain down with so violent a head 
ache. But when he stretched out his hands and feet to 
other parts of the bed, and found every part of it to be just 
as hot as the rest, he was quite astonished, nor could 
he imagine what was the reason. He tried to fall asleep 
again, but in vain. The heat and smoke, which nearly stifled 
him, so increased, that he determined to get up. He leapt 
from his bed, opened the door, and called for the servants. 
Hardly had he put his foot on the threshold, when the flame 
burst out and set the whole bed on fire. The soldiers of 
the fortress ran in and threw it out through the window into 
the ditch, for fear it should set fire to the house. There is 
not the slightest doubt that had Aloysius stayed a minute 
longer he would have been burnt to death or suffocated, 
especially as the room, which I have myself seen, was very 
small and then shut up. But God, Who had elected him for 
religious life and Who knew the cause of his being in this 
peril, willed, by a singular providence, to deliver him. Every 
one considered that he had escaped by a singular miracle from 
God. The news that such a miracle had happened to the 

VII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 41 

eldest son of the Marquis reached even the ears of the Duke 
of Mantua; and the Duchess Eleanor of Austria, some time 
after, asked Aloysius himself to tell the particulars of it. He 
was very much ashamed that the facts were made public, 
perhaps for fear lest the cause should also get known of his 
leaving the candle lit near his bed. 

In every accident, S. Aloysius, who felt by constant ex 
perience God s providence and protection over him, at once 
had recourse to prayer. And this too he did in all business, 
whether his father s or his own. He used to put himself in 
the hands of God and beseech His Divine Majesty, to whom 
everything was known, to direct him for the best these were 
the very words he was wont to employ in commending his 
affairs to God. Nor was he ever deceived in the trust and 
hope he placed in God. For he himself told a very remark 
able thing, that in nothing, great or small, which he did 
recommend to God, he ever failed to gain the result he wished, 
however difficult and involved it might be, and though to 
others it seemed utterly desperate, for God was so willing to 
hear his prayers. It was from his continual dealing with God, 
that it would seem S. Aloysius acquired that gift, which he 
valued above all others, a grandeur and dignity of soul by 
which he contemned and valued as nothing whatever the 
world contained. 

Owing to this, when he saw in royal palaces, or at court, 
the silver and gold plate, the furniture, the ceremonial of the 
courtiers, and things of that kind, he could scarcely contain 
himself from langhing, so vile and unworthy of any one s 
esteem did these things appear to him. The result was that 
several times when talking confidentially to his mother he told 
her that he never could cease wondering, nor could he ever 
discover the reason why everyone did not become a religious, 
for it was so clear what advantages religious life brought, not 
only in the next life, but even in the present; while things of 
this world do harm now and hereafter, and leave us so quickly. 
The Marchioness guessed from what he said the resolution 
which afterwards declared itself, but he said not a word to 
her about it then. 

The few acquaintances he kept up at that time were 
ecclesiastics and religious of Castiglione. There were several 

42 The Life of Chap. 

natives of the place who were people of note in other religious 
houses, and who sometimes came back to their own town. As 
soon as S. Aloysius chanced to hear of it, he went at once to 
see them, to talk to them about spiritual topics and to try to 
obtain from them blessed beads, a gnus Dei, and other holy 
things, which he accepted with special devotion. He was par 
ticularly delighted when some Benedictine monks of the Con 
gregation of Monte Cassino came there. These, in the process 
made at Modena, were examined and made several depositions 
about his fervour and holiness. S. Aloysius showed a like 
inclination to some Dominican Fathers, who came there for 
a holyday in summer time. He used to converse freely with 
them on spiritual subjects. One of them was Father Claud 
Fini of Modena, Doctor and Professor of Theology, a preacher 
celebrated in Lombard} , who when examined in after years on 
oath at the Bishop s court at Modena, among other things, 
in answer to an interrogatory made shortly before his death, 
declared in the following words, which I cite as being those 
of so eminent a person: "I knew by sight and by frequent 
and familiar conversation Signer Don Aloysius Gonzaga, the 
heir to the Marquisate of Castiglione, on the occasion of my 
passing my vacations with my companions at Castiglione and 
at other estates of his family; and his mother was kind 
enough to make him talk with us and with me in particular. 
For I was charmed and edified with the spiritual fragrance of 
his actions, words, manners, and ideas, which showed forth a 
most rare holiness. Every expression in his familiar convers 
ation pointed to a remarkable humility, as he praised with 
ardour the turning aAvay from earthly greatness and dignities. 

"Once he said to me at Castiglione: We need not take 
airs because of our family, because after all the ashes of a 
prince cannot be distinguished from those of some poor wretch, 
unless it be that they smell more foully. 

"He showed no signs of childishness at that early age and 
had a singular modesty, a shrinking from society, sometimes 
a thoughtful, serious and devout silence. He had frequently 
on his lips these words: O God! would that I knew how 
to love Thee as Thy great Majesty deserves. My heart weeps 
that Christians show Thee such ingratitude. His modesty 
and virtue were of so exquisite and spotless a purity that it 


S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 

Via degli Angeli, now Via degli Alfani at Florence, 

in which the house occupied by St. Aloysius is situated. 
(See P. I, ch. 3 and note 13.) 

44 The Life of Chap. 

could not be surpassed; to such a degree that when he heard 
a word in mere joke and fun, which was not quite correct, 
he blushed and grieved at it, though with unaffected good man 
ners, and he showed his compassion for the fault committed. 
When talking about spiritual things and of someone who had 
entered religious life, he showed great delight, his face grew 
bright and seemed quite to change, and he would exclaim, inter 
rupted by sighs: Ah! how great must be the joys of Heaven 
in real happiness; when we feel such delight merely in talking 
about them among ourselves here below. 

"I went sometimes to Church with him, and little boy 
though he was, he surpassed the oldest, and even religious 
men in his acts of humble devotion, almost melting into tears. 
One time he would fix his gaze on the statue of a saint so 
intently that he seemed to be out of himself, and if he were 
called, or a word said to him, he did not at first hear or reply. 
He often told me that he had a very remarkable devotion to 
Our Blessed Lady; and that at the mere mention of her name 
he was quite moved. I never knew him when he was a 
religious, but I saw clearly by his conduct that he had the 
design of leaving the world. I have heard however from per 
sons of weight in Milan, Brescia, Cremona, Ferrara, Genoa, 
Mantua, and other places, that he became a Jesuit, and lived 
as such with great fame and name of sanctity. And many 
have said to me that they hold it more secure to offer up 
prayers to his soul than for his soul. Rumours are abroad 
concerning miracles, favours, and wonders wrought by him; 
and his relics are said to be held in very high esteem." Such 
are the words of the Dominican Father. 

VIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 45 


S. Aloysius goes with the Marquis into Spain and the 
life he led there at court. 


1 n the autumn of i 5 8 i Mary of Austria, daughter of the 
Emperor Charles V. and widow of Emperor Maxi 
milian II., was on her way from Bohemia to Spain.- 5 
She was daughter-in-law to the Emperor Ferdinand L, 
mother of the Emperor Rodolph II. and sister of Philip II. of 
Spain. This sovereign desired as a mark of honour to her, 
that she should be accompanied on her journey from Italy 
into Spain by the Italian princes and lords who were subject 
to the Spanish crown. Among these was invited the Marquis 
Don Ferrante, the father of S. Aloysius. The Empress herself 
had requested the Marchioness Donna Martha to go with her. 
As both the husband and wife were to make the journey, they 
took with them their three eldest children, their daughter 
Isabella, who remained at court and died there as maid of 
honour to the Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia, 26 Aloysius then 
thirteen years and a half, and Rodolph somewhat younger. 

During the journey Aloysius did not give up his usual 
meditations, nor relax in any way his fervour, but whether on 
sea or on land had his mind always well employed. He heard 
it said on board the Galley, that there was some danger of 
being attacked by the Turks. At once he said with fervour: 
"Please God, we may have the chance of becoming Martyrs!" 
The Marchioness told me also that Aloysius found one day 
among the rocks a little stone formed in such a way that it seemed 
to have engraved on it to the life the most sacred wounds of our 
Saviour. His mind was always intent on devout subjects, and he 
fancied that God had allowed him to see and get the stone by 
a special providence; and that it was a way of telling him that 
he ought to imitate the passion of Christ Our Lord. So he 
came up to his mother and said: "See, my Lady, what God 
has made me find; and yet my father will not let me become 

46 The Life of Chap. 

a religious." And for a long time he kept that stone about 
his person very devoutly. 

When they reached the court, the Marquis took his usual 
post of chamberlain, while Aloysius and Rodolph were made 
menini or pages of honour to Don Diego, the son of Philip II. 
and eldest brother of Philip III., whom he pre- deceased. 
During his stay of over two years in Spain, 27 beside his duties 
at court, Aloysius applied diligently to his studies. First he 
attended the lectures of a learned priest on logic, and the ex 
planation of the globe by Dimas, the king s Mathematician. Every 
day after dinner he went to a lecture on Philosophy and Natural 
Theology. He made such progress that chancing to pass 
through Alcala while a student was defending a thesis of Theo 
logy, Aloysius was invited to argue. Though then only about 
fourteen or fifteen, he did so with great grace to the amazement 
of all present. The professor who presided at the discussion was 
Father Gabriel Vasquez, who was afterwards professor of Dog 
matic Divinity in the Roman College. S. Aloysius tried to 
prove, of course merely for sake of argument, that the 
mystery of the Blessed Trinity could be known by the natural 
light of reason. Amidst all these duties at court and his 
studies, S. Aloysius perceived that he had not the facilities and 
opportunities to devote himself to the spiritual life he would 
have wished. Sometimes he had not, at the commencement, 
tune to say his ordinary prayers and to go to the Sacraments 
as he had been accustomed to do. It seemed to him, in con 
sequence, that his first fervour and the wish he had had to 
leave the world as soon as possible, was growing cold, nor did 
he feel those ardent and inflamed desires, which he had before 
experienced. However he determined, with God s help, to put 
aside all human respect and to live a holy religious life, even 
at court. For this end, in the first place, he chose as his con 
fessor, Father Ferdinand Paterno- 8 of the Society of Jesus, 
a Sicilian, who was then at Madrid, and he continued frequently 
to approach Confession and Communion. We can gather from 
a letter of this Father, written as evidence, in 1694, with what 
spotless purity the Saint lived at a Court, so full of many 
distractions. He says at the very beginning these words: 

"I will in short reply to your Reverence, that from the 
time I became acquainted in Spain with Brother Aloysius, which 

VIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 47 

was when he was a child, I remarked in him great sinlessness 
and cleanness of conscience, to such a degree, that all the time, 
it was for several years, 1 not only never discovered in him 
any mortal sin, but rather the very greatest abhorrence of it; nor 
had he ever committed a grave fault. Over and over again I could 
not find any matter for absolution. It could not be said that 
this arose from stupidity or want of sense, because even at 
that early age you could see in him the foresight and mature 

Inscription and Picture of S. Aloysius 

in his house at Florence (Via degli Angeli, now Via degli Alfani). 
(See P. I, ch. 3 and note 13.) 

behaviour of an old man, and an understanding far beyond that 
of a youth. He had a strong hatred of idleness, and so was 
always engaged in some useful employment, especially in 
studying Holy Scripture, which he enjoyed extremely. I remarked 
a great modesty in his way of speaking, never saying anything 
against others or finding fault with anyone in the least thing." 
It is easy to gather from these words of his confessor and 
from others, which will be quoted hereafter, that in the midst 
of the occupations of a Court, he led a heavenly and angelic 

48 The Life of Chap. 

life. For it is a great thing to say, that one who lived at Court 
should not have any matter for absolution, neither mortal nor 
venial sin. He walked abroad so composedly and with such 
modesty as never to raise his eyes from the ground. Thus it 
was that once, when a religious, the conversation led him to 
own that neither in Madrid, where he remained several years, 
nor at Castiglione where he was born and brought up, would he 
have known his way about the streets, if he had not someone 
with him to show him, and ^ so as he used to say he had nothing 
to distract him and was able to remain all the time occupied 
in meditation. I can relate something very extraordinary about 
his modesty and the guard he set upon his eyes, which was sworn 
to in a process, by the Provincial of Naples, who was very 
intimate with the vSaint. 29 When S. Aloysius was on his way 
from Italy to Spain in company with the Empress, and still 
more during his stay at the Court of Spain, he Avent every day 
with Prince Diego to visit the Empress and had a thousand 
other opportunities of seeing her and of looking at her, both 
near at hand and from a distance, yet, he owned to the Father 
that, out of extreme modesty, never, even once, had he seen 
her face, much less looked at her. And we know how common 
is the wish to know, and when the chance offers, to gaze fixedly 
at persons of high dignity, and how wildly people run to look 
at them, when they chance to pass by. 

Even at that period of his life, S. Aloysius liked to wear 
ragged and torn clothes and hose patched at the knees , of which 
even persons of humble condition would be ashamed. But as 
he despised the world, he did not mind what the world said 
of him. And even when by his father s order new clothes were 
made for him, he deferred wearing them as long as possible. 
When he had worn them once or twice, he found some excuse, 
for laying them aside and put on his old suit once more. He 
would not wear collars of gold nor any of those ornaments 
usually worn by courtiers, for he said they were the pomps of 
the world, and he wanted to serve God and not the world. 
Owing to things of this kind, he had several disputes with his 
father, who at first could not tolerate his behaviour, which he 
deemed a great disgrace to himself and to his house. But at 
last he was overcome by his son s constancy, and began even 
to admire what in other respects he did not approve. 

VIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 49 

Though S. Aloysius loved poverty so much in his own 
person, yet he allowed his servants to be dressed according to 
their rank and position. His dealings with the gentlemen of 
the Court were so serious and religious, that as soon as he ap 
peared all became grave. They never heard a word from his 
lips, nor perceived an action in him, that was not perfectly 
correct; and they knew he never would tolerate, in jest or in 
earnest, a syllable that was improper, so that it passed into a 
proverb amongst the nobles: "The little Marquis of Castiglione 
is not made of flesh and blood." The boy Prince, Diego, was 
once at a window when there was a strong gale blowing. It 
annoyed him, and he turned with childish anger to the wind 
and said: "AVind, I bid you not to bother me." S. Aloysius, 
who was near him, exclaimed in a charming way and with a 
smile: "Your Highness can give orders to men, for they will 
obey: but you cannot command the elements, for this belongs 
to God alone, AA^hom you yourself are bound to obey." As 
whatever the little prince said or did was told to the King, when 
the words of Diego and of S. Aloysius were related to him, 
Philip was pleased at the Saint s rejoinder, because so a propos 
and sensible. 

AA r hile in Spain S. Aloysius came across a book of Lewis 
of Granada on the method of mental prayer, and how to fix 
one s mind upon it. 30 He took occasion from reading this to re 
solve to make at least an hour s meditation every day without 
a single distraction. Accordingly he would kneel down, as was 
his custom, without anything on which to rest, and would 
begin his meditation. And if after half an hour or three quarters 
of an hour, the least possible distraction came before his mind, 
he did not count the time he had already spent, but began from 
that moment a fresh hour; and persevered in meditation until he 
had succeeded in making it for a whole hour without the slightest 
wandering of his thoughts. In this way for some time he con 
tinued to devote five hours, and occasionally even more, to 
meditation every day. That he might not be interrupted by his 
attendants or by anyone else, he used to hide in some dark 
rooms, where firewood was stored, and there, without any material 
comfort, but to his great delight, he gave himself up to medi 
tation and to his prayers. Nor could the household ever find 
him, though they often and diligently sought for him, especially 

50 The Life of Chap. 

when some of the Nobility, his friends, came to call upon him. 
His parents frequently scolded him for hiding himself, but 
he valued the heavenly visitations which he used to receive at 
that time far above any visits of men, so he closed his eyes to 
all human respect, and never would he neglect or interrupt his 
spiritual duties to please anyone. He preferred to be considered 
wanting in civility and ill bred rather than be less devout to God. 
His friends saw this, and gave up paying visits of courtesy, and 
left him free from useless conversations to attend with greater 
freedom to his religious practices. 


S. Aloysius determines to enter the Society of Jesus, 
and makes known his vocation to his parents. 


int Aloysius had been about a year and a half in 
Spain when, urged by the Holy Ghost, Who every 
day worked in his soul more and more powerfully, 
he judged that the time had come for him to enter 
some religious order, as he had determined to do when in Italy. 
As he wanted to make up his mind what order he was to 
join, he prayed all the more fervently to God to enlighten 
him in an affair of such importance. He considered the matter 
from many points of view. Some of the motives which decided 
his choice he told his mother at the time, from whom I heard 
them, and others he narrated to us in the Society. His aim in all 
was the greater glory of God. 

First, as he was much drawn to an austere life and to 
corporal penance, he felt inclined to join the barefooted Francis 
cans in Spain, who are like the Capuchins of Italy, and are 
very remarkable for their hard fare and their rough habit. It is 
true that the externals of a poor and severe dress, when joined 
as they usually are, with a solitary life amidst the woods, or 
with a holy life in the towns, are a source of great edification and 
attract souls who are desirous of doing good. But afterwards, 
he gave up the idea, either because he recognised how delicate 
was his constitution, or because he found it so broken down and 

IX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 51 

enfeebled by his great austerities, that he had reason to fear that 
he would be unable to bear so rigorous a life, and would run the 
risk of being forced to give up the Religious state. On the other 
hand he thought that, as he had got accustomed, even at Court, 
to fasts, disciplines, and other austerities, should he keep his 
health, he would be able to continue his penances and even to 
increase them without danger of any sort. It was his mother who 
had especially dissuaded him from his first idea. He had 
broached it to her, and she assured him that he would not live 
much longer if he either continued his austerities in the world, 
or entered an order with a very severe and penitential rule. 

He then began to think whether it would not be better to 
enter an order which had fallen away from observance of its 
rule. For it seemed to him in that way he could not only 
be of help to the monastery into which he entered, but by 
degrees be the cause of the entire order embracing the reform. 
He thought that in this way he could do good service to God s 
Church. On the other hand, he considered that he had not 
virtue enough to promise so much for himself; he feared, if 
he were not to succeed, that he would procure his own ruin, as 
certainly would be the case if instead of helping others, he were 
himself to be hindered. Accordingly he resolved to choose an 
order which lived up to its first institute, and followed it 

He did not give his mind to consider those orders which 
are devoted exclusively to an active life and to works of corporal 
mercy, for they did not seem to be to his taste. But, among 
the many which are in the Church, some came before him whose 
members are cut off from all dealings with men, and pass a 
holy and tranquil life in perfect charity and silence, either in the 
country or in the towns, devoted to their own sanctification, to 
singing to Divine Office, spiritual reading and meditation. Such are 
generally speaking the Monastic orders. For these S. Aloysius 
not only had no repugnance, but a strong inclination and natural 
fitness. Because if he had learnt to find solitude of heart and 
peace of mind in the midst of a Court and the bustle of the 
world, much more would he be sure to discover it in a cloister 
cut off from the world and far from society. 

However he had before him, not merely his own quiet of 
mind and God s glory, but God s greater glory; and he saw 

52 The Life of Chap. 

that in solitary life he should he obliged to keep hidden what 
ever talent God had given him for the good of souls. He had 
read too, as some assert, and as will be told later on, in the 
Summa of S. Thomas of Aquin, the Angelic Doctor, that those 
orders hold the highest rank, which are instituted to teach and 
preach, and to devote themselves to the salvation of souls; 
because they not only contemplate, but communicate to others 
the subject of their meditations, and they most of all resemble 
in their life that which the Son of God, the True Way and 
Rule of all perfection, led upon earth. Jesus was not always hidden 
in the deserts, nor meditating and praying in solitude, nor was He 
always engaged in teaching and preaching; but sometimes He 
was in prayer in the desert or on the mountains, at other times 
He was converting and instructing the ignorant and preaching 
to them what concerned their salvation. S. Aloysius accordingly 
determined for the love of God to wean himself from that 
spiritual delight and quiet of which he could assure himself in 
the solitude of Monastic orders, and to enter an order of mixed 
life, for which education was required, and which, beside one s 
own good, had for its object to help to the perfection of others. 
As there are in the Church a number of orders instituted for 
this end and which devote themselves piously to it, the Saint 
began to compare them one with another, to consider the 
means and helps and practices they employ to attain their end. 
At last, after long and mature deliberation, and after much 
prayer, he decided to choose the Society of Jesus, then the last 
born into the world, and in it to dedicate himself to the divine 
service. He considered he was called to it by God, and that 
its Institute was well suited for his purpose. Among other 
reasons which moved him to choose the Society in preference 
to any other order, four presented themselves to him, which, 
as he used to say, gave him great consolation. The first was 
because religious observance was there in its first vigour and 
was preserved in all the purity of the Institute, nor had it suffered 
any change. The second was because the Society makes a 
special vow not to seek after any ecclesiastical dignities, nor to 
accept one when offered, unless by order of the Pope. He feared 
lest had he entered any other order which does accept them, he 
would have been drawn out of it, and at the request of his re 
latives and against his own wish, promoted to some Prelacy. 


IX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 53 

This would not be so easy to do, if he were in the Society. The 
third was that he saw the Society had so many ways, by schools 
and sodalities, to aid in the bringing up of youth in the fear 
of God and the virtue of purity. He considered that a great 
service was being done to God s Church, and great pleasure 
given to His Divine Majesty by cultivating these tender plants, 
and protecting them from the chill of sin and from the heat 
of passion by the shelter of instructions and of the Sacraments. 
The fourth reason was because the Society expressly embraced 

Church of the "Annunziata" in Florence, 

in which S. Aloysius used to pray. 

(See P. I, ch. 3.) 

the work of the conversion of heretics to the bosom of the Catholic 
Church, and the evangelization of the heathen in India, in Japan, 
and in the new world. And he hoped that some day he might 
have the good fortune to be sent into those lands to convert 
souls to the Faith. 

When the Saint had made his choice, he did his best to 
make sure, as far as he could, that it was the will of God. He 
determined to go to Communion for this intention on some feast 
of Our Lady, and by her intercession, to ask God earnestly to 
let him know if this was His most holy Will. The feast of the 

Saint Aloysius. 

54 The Life of Chap. 

Assumption in iSSj was at hand. S. Aloysius was then more 
than fifteen. He prepared himself with much prayer and extra 
ordinary fervour, and on the morning of that festival he approached 
Holy Communion. This, according to tradition, took place in 
the Lady Chapel of the Jesuit Church at Madrid. 31 

As he was devoutly making his thanksgiving, and praying, 
through Our Lady s intercession, to learn God s Will about 
his choice of a state of life, suddenly he heard a clear and 
unmistakable voice which hade him become a member of the 
Society of Jesus, and, as he himself told his mother, and 
related to others when he was a religious, it added that he 
must tell all this as soon as possible to his confessor. 

As he was now assured of God s wish, he returned to the 
palace , full of delight, and anxious to put into execution the 
divine will which had been just manifested to him. The very 
same day he went in search of -his confessor and informed him 
of everything that had passed. He implored him to do all he 
could with his superiors that he might be received as soon as 
possible. When the Father had examined the beginnings and 
the growth of this resolve, he told the Saint that his vocation 
seemed to him genuine and from God, but that the consent of 
his father was needed, as without it the Society would never 
receive him. He must therefore inform the Marquis of his in 
tentions, and persuade him by entreaty and by argument to grant 
his permission. 

S. Aloysius lost no time, so great was his desire to con 
secrate himself to God. That very day he told his mother of 
his resolve. She w ; as delighted, and thanked heaven for it. Like 
another Anna she willingly offered him up and dedicated him 
to God. She was the first to speak of it to the Marquis, and 
to check the outburst of passion into which he fell, when he 
heard of this unexpected determination of their son. And ever 
after she so aided and encouraged S. Aloysius, that her husband 
who had no knowledge of the ardent desire she had always had 
to see her son a religious, began to suspect that she acted out 
of partiality for Rodolph, and that, because of her wish that he 
should succeed to the title and estates instead of Aloysius, 
she wanted her elder son to leave the world. 

Shortly afterwards the Saint with all possible humility and 
respect laid open his mind to his father and told him that it 


S. Alovsius Gonzasa. I. 


was his ardent hope and his firm determination to pass the 
remainder of his life in religion. The Marquis giving way to 
violent anger drove his son from him with reproachful and bitter 
words, threatening to have him stripped and beaten. S. Alovsius 
humbly replied: "Would to God, that I had the favour to suffer 

The Canopy supported by marble pillars 

over the miraculous picture of "Santa Maria delle Grazie" in the Church of the 

"Annunziata" at Florence. 

(See P. I, ch. 3.) 

something for His love!", and went away. His father was deeply 
grieved, and he turned his wrath against the boy s confessor, saying 
every thing that passion and love for his son brought to his 
lips. For several days he could find no rest, so grievous was 
the blow, so terrible the shock that he had received from 
Aloysius determination. After some days he summoned his son s 

56 The Life of Chap. 

confessor before him, and complained bitterly of him, as if he 
had been the first to put these ideas into the head of his 
eldest child, on whom all the hopes of his family reposed. The 
Father replied that it was only a few days before that Aloysius 
had told him of his resolution and that the young man himself 
could bear witness to this , although he had easily gathered 
from the life which the youth was leading that some day or 
other he would take a resolution of that kind. The Marquis 
was softened, and turning to S. Aloysius, who was present, he 
tried to shew him that it would not have been so bad had he 
chosen some other order. The Saint replied so admirably that 
the Marquis had nothing more to say. This we learn from the 
letter already quoted, in which, speaking of Aloysius, his con 
fessor continues: "As to his vocation there are two matters worthy 
of note. I never said a word to him about it, though from his 
way of life I always foresaw what would happen. One day, the 
feast of the Assumption, after confession, and Communion which 
he approached frequently, he came to tell me after dinner that 
he had prayed God earnestly at the moment of Communion, 
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, to make known 
His holy will about his choice of a state of life, and that he 
had, as it were, heard a clear and manifest voice telling him to 
become a religious in the Society. His father felt this his deter 
mination very sorely, and as he saw him so firm in his resolve, 
he said to him in my presence: I wish, my son, that at least 
you would have chosen some other order but this, for so you 
would not have failed to receive some dignity by which you 
would have honoured our family. This you never will obtain in 
the. Society, as it refuses them. The youth replied: One of 
the very reasons why I have chosen the Society rather than any 
other order is just that I might thoroughly bar the way to ambition. 
Had I wanted any dignity, I should have kept my Marquisate, 
which God had given me as the eldest son; nor should I have 
left a certainty for an uncertainty. " 

"When the confessor had left, the Marquis, who was con 
tinually thinking over what had happened, began to suspect 
that S. Aloysius had acted as he had done, in order to make 
him give up gambling, a vice to which he was terribly addicted. 
A few days before he had lost many thousand dollars, and the 
very evening that his son told him of his intention he had again 


S. Alovsius Gonza< 

lost 6,000 dollars. It is true that his play grievously distressed 
S. Alovsius, and often when his father was at the card table 
he went to his room to cry; and he used to say to his servants 
that it was not the losses which grieved him, as much as the 
offence which was committed against God, so that his father s 
suspicions were not without apparent grounds. Xor was this 
the opinion of the Marquis only, but of nearly all at Court; 

Miraculous Picture of Santa Maria delle Grazie 
in the Church of the "Annunziata" in Florence, before which S. Aloysius made his 

vow of perpetual Chastity. 

A celebrated fresco painted in the year 1252 by the painter Bartolomeo. 
(See P. I, ch. 3.) 

for when what had passed between the Marquis and his son got 
noised abroad, the courtiers all highly praised Aloysius wisdom 
for having tried to scare his father from play by the fear of 
a still graver loss. 

When Aloysius continued firm and steadfast in his resolve, 
and kept on begging every day for permission to follow the in 
spiration from on high, and when he protested that he had no 
end in this but to serve God, our Lord, the Marquis began at 
last to believe that his son really meant what he said. When 

58 The Life of Chap. 

he remembered the angelic life that Aloysius had always led 
from infancy, ever given up to piety, he was convinced that the 
call was really from God. What confirmed him still more 
in this belief was the opinion of Father Francis Gonzaga, 
General of the Franciscans of the Observance, a relative and 
intimate friend of the Marquis who was then on a visitation in 
Spain. At Don Ferrante s request he examined Aloysius for 
full two hours most carefully, and was so thoroughly satisfied, 
that he told the Marquis there could be no doubt that it was 
a divine vocation. 

But though Don Ferrante was perfectly convinced that his 
son had a true vocation, he could not bring himself to give the 
required leave, and detained him with fair words. As soon as 
S. Aloysius perceived this, he did not wish to be delayed any 
longer, especially as Prince Diego had died of small pox and 
he was now freed from his duties at Court. Our Saint after 
attending the funeral service at the Escurial, resolved to strike 
a blow, and see what would be its success. Accordingly he went 
one day to the house of the Society, with Rodolph, his younger 
brother, and some of his attendants. He then told them that 
they might go home, for he meant to stay there and return no 
more. As they saw he was determined, and meant what he said, 
after having for some time begged him not to remain, they 
went back and told the Marquis what had happened. He was 
confined to his bed with the gout, but sent at once Dr. Sallust 
Petroceni of Castiglione, one of the Judges of his courts, to bid 
Aloysius to return. S. Aloysius replied that what would have to 
be done next day might just as well be done this, and that as 
he wished to stay where he was, he implored his father not to 
deprive him of that pleasure. When the Marquis got this answer 
he said that it would be a disgrace to him if the affair should 
end in such a way as be the talk of all the Court. Accor 
dingly he sent the Doctor to say that Aloysius must ab 
solutely come back. He obeyed and returned. On another 
occasion in conversation with the Father General Gonzaga, Don 
Ferrante implored him, by his kinship and by his friendship, to 
dissuade his son from becoming a religious, and to persuade 
him that even in his station of life, he could serve God in the 
world. He urged the grave loss it would be to him and to his 
States to be deprived of a son of such intelligence, who 

IX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 59 

would have governed his people so well and so religiously. The 
General begged to be excused, as neither his profession nor 
his conscience could allow him to do what he was asked. The 
Marquis insisted that he should at least beg Aloysius not to 
enter religion in Spain, but would induce him to return with him 
into Italy, whither he was soon going, and he gave the General 
his word of honour that in Italy he would permit his son to do 
what he wanted. The Father General remembered that when he 
himself was at the Spanish Court, and wanted to become a 
Franciscan, his parents after endeavouring to dissuade him, tried 
to take him back to Italy, in order to use every effort to make 
him change his mind. He however would not consent to return, 
but took the habit in Spain. Accordingly he told the Marquis 
that he was not a fit person to do what was asked from him, 
for the reasons drawn from his own experience, and in fact that 
he scrupled to give his consent. However he engaged to speak 
to S. Aloysius. The General told the Saint the request of the 
Marquis and what had been his answer. "I really scrupled to 
undertake such a task, even though the Marquis promised that 
he would give you full permission in Italy." 

The young man trusted that his father, as soon as he 
reached Italy, would keep his promise; and told the General that 
he would be delighted to give this satisfaction to the Marquis. 
And he added that he made no difficulty about it, because he 
had forecast all that might happen and was so resolved and 
fixed in his determination, that with God s grace, he felt im 
movable, and so had no fear of anything whatsoever. The Father 
General gave his reply to the Marquis, and so the affair was 
settled by mutual agreement. 

60 The Life of Chap. 


S. Aloysius returns to Italy, and meets with trouble 

about his vocation. 


3 n i 684 John Andrew Doria, who had just been created 
Admiral by the King of Spain, was returning with 
his fleet to Italy. Don Ferrante determined to sail 
for Italy in one of the Galleys, and take with him his 
wife and sons. 32 As they were going on board, Father General 
Gonzaga, who had finished his visitation and all his other business 
in Spain, desired to embark with them. It is not easy to tell 
how fortunate Aloysius esteemed himself to have the company 
of such a Father. For every time he looked at him, he ap 
peared to see a real and living image of religious life and of 
regular observance; and he told me afterwards, how he used to 
note diligently all his actions so as to draw profit from them, 
and he learnt how worthy the Father was of the name and office 
of General of the strict observance because of his great virtue and 
exemplary life. And that this opinion was well grounded and 
correct, has been made evident since this Father was appointed 
Bishop, first of Cefalu in Sicily, and lastly of Mantua, for in that 
dignity he ever led so religious and holy a life, that he was held 
by the common opinion of all who have known him, and had to 
do with him, to have followed in the footsteps of the saintly 
Bishops of old, and to have deserved to be proposed as an example 
to all religious who are elevated to ecclesiastical honours. In 
such good and pious company, S. Aloysius passed his time very 
happily, talking on spiritual topics and laying before the General 
any difficulties he met with in the devout life. 

They reached Italy in the July of 1684, when S. Aloysius 
was 1 6 years and four months old. He expected that his father 
would at once give him leave to carry out his wishes, and he 
began with all diligence to press for permission. But the Marquis 
told him that he wished first to send him with his brother Rodolph 
to pay their respects, in their father s name, to all the princes 
and dukes of Italy, and that accordingly he must get himself 

X. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 61 

ready for the journey. 33 This the Marquis did in the hopes that 
it would help to turn him away from his wish to become a 
religious. S. Aloysius set out, with his brother and a numerous 
suite, and paid visits to the various Sovereigns of Italy. Rodolph, 
though the younger, was magnificently dressed as suited his 
station, but the good Aloysius wore only a plain suit of black 
serge, and would have nothing elegant about him. The Marquis 

Ancestral castle of the Gonzaga (castello di Corte) at Mantua. Exterior. 
(See P. I, ch. 4.) 

had provided some splendid suits of clothes, embroidered and 
almost covered with gold, for Aloysius to wear when he arrived 
in Italy, and had to present himself before the Infanta, wife of 
Charles Emanuel, Duke of Savoy. 34 But it was impossible 
to persuade him even once to put them on. In Castiglione it 
once happened, and it was not the only time, that his hose were 
all torn, and for fear they should be noticed and others put in their 
place, he covered them with his cloak. One day as he was going 
up stairs, he let drop his rosary and as he stooped down to 
pick it up, his tutor who was behind him saw that his hose were 

62 The Life of Chap. 

so full of holes, as to allow his skin to be seen. "O Signer 
Aloysius!", he exclaimed, "what are you doing? Do you not 
perceive that you are bringing your family and yourself into 
disgrace?;" and he bade him change them and put on another 
pair. S. Aloysius did not dare to refuse, perhaps for fear that 
the tutor would tell his father. 

While travelling he was always saying vocal prayers, or 
meditating. He never omitted his usual fasts, or his evening 
prayers. As soon as he reached an inn he withdrew into a 
room, and looked about for a crucifix before which to pray, 
and if there was none he made a cross on a piece of paper 
with charcoal or ink, and kneeling down before it he spent an 
hour or more in prayer and his usual devotions. On arriving 
at any city where there was a residence or College of the Society, 
if the place was a capital, after he had paid his respects to 
the Sovereign, he always went to see the Fathers. The first 
thing he did on entering the College was to go straight to the 
Church to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and he then 
remained talking with the Fathers as long as he could. When he 
went to the Duke of Savoy, two things happened worth noticing. 
S. Aloysius was staying in the palace of his relative, Signer 
Jerome della Rovere, who afterwards was created Cardinal, and 
was in a room with a number of young men of family, when a 
gentleman of some seventy years began a somewhat improper 
conversation. Our Saint, indignant at this, addressed him 
plainly in these very words: "Is not an old man of your position 
ashamed to talk about such subjects to these young gentlemen? 
It is scandalous and a very bad example, for, evil communications, 
as S. Paul declares, corrupt good manners." And with that our 
Saint took up a spiritual book and withdrew into another room, 
apart from the company, to show that he was still displeased. 
The old gentleman was much mortified, but the others were ex 
ceedingly edified. The other circumstance was as follows. His 
uncle Hercules Tana, his mother s brother, on hearing of his 
arrival at Turin went to see him, and begged him and his brother 
to come and pay him a visit at Chieri. He urged that it would be 
a great favour to all his relatives, as Aloysius had never been 
there. Our Saint accepted the imitation and went with his brother. 
Hercules had arranged for a ball in honour of his nephews. 
S. Aloysius did all he could to avoid going. But he was earnestly 

XI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 63 

pressed to go by several, who assured him that the ball was got 
up merely for his honour and as a sign of rejoicing at his visit. 
He suffered himself to be led into the ball, where a number of 
gentlemen and ladies were already assembled, on the under 
standing that he would merely be present, but would not dance. 
Hardly had he sat down when one of the ladies rose from her 
seat and came to invite him to dance. He immediately got up 
and, without another word, he left the room and did not return. 
His uncle Hercules shortly after went in search of him, but 
could not find him. At last, however, on passing through one 
of the sen-ants rooms, he perceived Aloysius hidden in a corner, 
between the bed and the wall, on his knees and engaged in 
his prayers. So astonished and edified was Signer Tana that he 
did not dare to interrupt him, but left him alone. 


Aloysius has to bear new trials at Castiglione and at 

last obtains permission to enter the Society. 


hen all the visits had been paid, our Saint returned 
to Castiglione with the certainty that the Marquis 
would keep his promise and give him full leave 
to go. He was however, very much mistaken, for 
his father would not hear a word about it, and did everything 
he was able to make him change his resolve. His father could 
not persuade himself that Aloysius had a real vocation, but thought 
he was moved merely by youthful fervour which would vanish 
with time. Other personages, through their near relationship and 
the affection they had for Aloysius, made various and utterly 
unlocked for attacks on his resolution. First of all, William, 
the Duke of Mantua, who had always been very fond of the 
Saint, sent a bishop of great eloquence to Aloysius at Castiglione, 
with the following message from him. If the life of a layman 
was distasteful to him, let him enter the priesthood, for in that 
state he could devote himself to work for the greater glory of 
God and the good of his neighbour, even more than in the 
religious state. There were plenty of examples of holy men, in 
bye-gone days as in our own times, like S. Charles Borromeo 

64 The Life of Chap. 

and others, who in positions of high dignity were more useful 
to the Church than many religious. And he promised in fine, 
to make use of his best endeavours and influence to gain him 
Church promotion. The Bisjiop fulfilled his part most earnestly 
and brought forward excellent arguments. Aloysius answered 
them all with great prudence, and in conclusion said that he 
thanked the Duke very much for the affection which he had 
always shown to him and of which he gave proof by the offers 
he had made. He assured him, however, that as he had declined 
all the help that he might have obtained with the same object 
from his own family, so he declined the offers which his Highness 
had just so liberally made to him. In fact the very reason why 
he had chosen the Society was in order not to have to accept 
a dignity of any kind, as he was determined to desire God 
alone in this world. 

The next attack was from Alphonsus Gonzaga, his uncle, 
to whose property of Castel Goffredo Aloysius was the heir. 
He made the same offers as the Duke of Mantua and received 
the same replies. Another person of high position, of the 
Gonzaga family, after having said a great deal to make 
Aloysius change his resolve, at last began to speak ill of the 
Society, and urged him at least not to enter an order, which 
lived in the midst of the world, but rather to choose one which 
was altogether withdrawn from outside employments, like the 
Capuchins or Carthusians. Possibly the gentleman said this with 
the intention, if Aloysius had altered his mind, to avail himself 
of the fact of his change, to condemn his vocation altogether; 
or because he could more easily have dissuaded him from 
entering these other orders as quite beyond his strength and 
unfitted for his delicate constitution; or at least because it would 
have been easier to take him from one of these orders and 
obtain for him some ecclesiastical dignity. Aloysius however 
replied briefly that he did not see how he could withdraw more 
entirely from the world than in the Society. For if by the world 
you mean riches, poverty is perfectly observed in the Society, 
as therein one has not and cannot have anything of his own. If 
the world means honours and dignities, the door is shut against 
them by the vow not to seek after them nor to accept them, 
even if they have been offered by Kings and Princes, unless 
by the Pope s command. These replies silenced this gentle- 

XL S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 65 

man and he told many who heard of them how firm was the 
Saint s vocation. 

The Marquis got others to come to the attack, especially 
Monsignor John James Pastorio, the parish priest of Castiglione, 
in whom S. Aloysius placed considerable confidence, to try to 
persuade him to remain in his post as ruler of the Marquisate. 
But so thoroughly did the Saint convince the priest by his replies, 
that he was forced to go on an embassage to the father in favour 
of the son with the view of persuading the Marquis that the 

Ancestral castle of the Gonzaga (castello di Corte) at Mantua. Inner court. 
(See P. I, ch. 4.) 

vocation came from God. Ever after that, Don Pastorio lauded 
Aloysius as a saint, so edified was he with what the young man 
had disclosed of the secrets of his soul. 

The Marquis still not content with all the trouble which 
he had taken, earnestly begged a religious, who was his great 
friend, out of affection for him, to make a powerful attack on 
S. Aloysius and try in every way to shake his vocation. The 
Father was a preacher renowned throughout Italy, and he became 
a Prelate before his death. 35 Very unwillingly, but because he 
could not refuse the Marquis, he undertook the task, sparing 

66 The Life of Chap." 

no pains and exerting all his eloquence. But he failed, and 
speaking in praise of the constancy of .the young man to one 
of the principal Cardinals, he said: "I was put to do the Devil s 
work with this youth, and 1 did it with all possible diligence 
and to the best of my knowledge. But all in vain, for he stood 
so firm and immovable that it was impossible to overcome 
him." Still for all that the Marquis hoped that his son would 
have been somewhat shaken by so many attacks, and to see 
whether such was the case, one day, when coniined to bed by 
the gout, he sent for him, and asked him what he thought of 
doing. vS. Aloysius answered respectfully, but plainly, that he 
thought and had ever thought of serving God in the religious 
life of which he had spoken. The Marquis burst into a fury at 
these words, and with angry face and biting words drove him 
away and bade him go out of his sight. The Saint took these 
words as a command and went at once to the convent of the 
bare-footed Franciscans, called S. Mary s, a mile or so outside 
Castiglione. This house stands close to a beautiful artificial 
lake, 36 which had been made by damming up the streams that 
flow down from the hills. It is built on a site much esteemed in 
days gone by, as a room half underground plainly shows. This 
chamber is ornamented with ancient mosaics, and a stream of 
clear water, which is brought by underground channels beneath 
some rooms, built by the Marquis Don Ferrante as a place 
of retirement for himself and his children, there leaps up, 
in a sparkling and merry fountain. To these rooms S. Aloysius 
retired, and he had his bed, his books and other furniture brought 
thither. He gave himself up to a most solitary life, disciplining 
himself frequently every day, and spending the whole time in 
prayer. No one dared to tell the Marquis, for fear of making 
him angry. 

AVhen some days had gone by, Don Ferrante, who was 
still confined to his bed with the gout, asked what had become 
of Aloysius. AVhen he learnt that he was stopping at the con 
vent, he ordered him to be sent for at once, and as soon as he 
came to his room he bitterly and with great anger reproved him 
for having dared to leave his house to vex him the more. Aloy 
sius answered very quietly and respectfully that he had left because 
he thought that he was thus doing what he was bid, as his 
father had told him to go. The Marquis added many words 

XT. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 67 

and threats, and then ordered him to retire to his room. Aloysius 
bowed his head: "I go there to obey you," he replied. As soon 
as he had reached his apartment, he closed the door, and 
kneeling before a crucifix he began to weep bitterly, calling on 
God for constancy and courage in his many trials; he then 
stripped and disciplined himself for a long time. Meanwhile the 
Marquis was undergoing a struggle between his conscience and 
the natural affection he had for his son. On the one hand he did 
not wish to offend God, on the other he could not bear to think 
of being deprived of a son he loved so dearly, and so excellent 
in every way. He feared that Aloysius would be made ill by his 
severe correction, and being somewhat softened, he summoned 
the Governor of the town, who was in the antechamber, and 
bade him go and see what Aloysius was doing. The Governor 
found a servant outside the room who told him that his young 
master had locked himself in and did not wish to be disturbed. 
However, the Governor said he had orders from the Marquis 
to see what his son was doing, and accordingly he came to the 
door, and as he could not get in, he made a little hole in the 
crevices and looking through it he saw Aloysius half undressed, 
on his bare knees upon the floor, in front of a crucifix, weep 
ing and scourging himself. Deeply moved and touched by this 
sight, he went back to the Marquis and with tears in his eyes 
he said to him: "Sir, if you had seen what Signor Aloysius is 
doing, you certainly Avould not try to change him from his good 
resolution to become a religious." The Marquis asked him what 
he had seen and why he was crying: "Sir," he replied, "I have 
seen something with regard to your son which would make 
anyone cry;" and he told him what he had witnessed, to the 
great surprise of the Marquis, who seemed as if he could hardly 
bring himself to believe it. 

Next day the Marquis waited till the same hour and, as 
he had arranged, was informed of what was going on; he then 
was carried in a chair to the door of S. Aloysius room, 
which was on the same story as his own. There through the 
hole already made, he could see his son again in tears and 
scourging himself. So moved was he by the spectacle, that for 
a time he remained quite amazed and as if lost to all around. 
Then, controlling himself, he bade his servants to make a noise 
and knock at the door. When the Marquis entered with his 

68 The Life of Chap. 

wife, he found the floor marked with drops of blood from the 
discipline, and the place where the saint had been kneeling all 
wet with his tears, as if water had been spilt there. 

This sight, and the frequent petitions which Aloysius had 
made, at last induced the Marquis to grant the leave required. 
He wrote to Scipio Gonzaga, 37 Patriarch of Jerusalem and after 
wards Cardinal, who was then at Rome, to offer, in his name, 
his eldest son to the Father General of the Society of Jesus. 
That son, he wrote, "was all that was most dear to him, and in 
him were centred all his greatest hopes in this world;" and 
he begged him at the same time to ask where his Paternity 
would wish his son to make his noviciate. The General, who 
was Claud Acquaviva , son of the Duke of Atri, gave a fitting 
answer, and as regarded the noviciate, he said that for many 
reasons it should be made in Rome. 

At this good news, S. Aloysius was perfectly delighted, nor 
could he restrain himself from writing at once to the General 38 
to thank him as best he could for so great a favour, and since 
he could not find words to express his feelings, he offered himself 
and made himself over to him. The General was delighted with 
his affectionate letter and replied that he accepted him and looked 
forward to welcome him as his son. The arrangements for the 
renunciation of the Marquisate were then begun. Aloysius, as 
has been said, had already received the investiture by name 
from the P^mperor. The Marquis desired him to cede it to his 
next brother Rodolph. Aloysius with great alacrity consented, 
and pressed for the settlement. He gave leave to others to 
draw up the form of the renunciation, quite content with what 
ever the Marquis might wish, provided the affair could he finished 
as quickly as possible, so that as soon as all was concluded, he 
should wing his flight to religious life. The form was drawn up 
as follows. The Saint absolutely resigned every sort of authority 
he might possess over the Marquisate, and every right of suc 
cession to the other fiefs which might come to him. Of all his 
property, he was to have, at once, 2,000 dollars in ready money 
to do what he liked with; and 400 dollars a year as long as 
he lived. When the deed was drawn up, it was laid before 
several doctors of law and the Senate of Milan, to see whether 
any flaw or subject of litigation could be found in it. It was 
then finally forwarded to the Emperor s Court, for confirmation 

XI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 69 

by his Majesty, as the transfer of authority could not be made 
without his consent, because the State of Castiglione was of free 
Imperial grant. 

The Duchess of Mantua, Eleanor of Austria, gave S. Aloysius 
very great assistance in carrying through the renunciation at the 
Court of the Emperor, her nephew. Our Saint had earnestly 
recommended the cause to her, as he knew she was not only 
able to help him, but that she always gladly used her influence 

Ducal Palace at Mantua, 

where S. Aloysius lived as page to the Duke from November 1579 to June 1580. 
(See P. I, ch. 4.) 

in such matters. And that she did so we find in her Life 
P. III. c. 5. 39 "It chanced that a young Marquis of illustrious 
family, the heir to a State, was moved by God to leave the 
world, nor was anyone able to turn him from his holy resolve. 
As he was however obliged to obtain permission from the Em 
peror to transfer his fief to his brother, he had recourse to 
Eleanor. She considered the affair carefully, and as she knew 
the character of the youth who desired to give up his position, 
not only did she encourage him to be faithful to the call from 
God, but she wrote most earnestly to her nephew, the Emperor 

Saint Aloysius. 

70 The Life of Chap. 

Rodolph and obtained what she wished. The result was the 
attainment of the young man s holy desire, who before many 
years had passed, and after a saintly life, died a religious, and 
went to Heaven to receive eternal glory." 


S. Aloysius is sent on business to Milan, and what 

happened there. 

1 684. 

hile they were awaiting the consent of the Emperor 
to the renunciation of the Saint, some very im 
portant business had to be settled by the Marquis 
at Milan. 40 He was however quite unable to go 
himself on account of the gout, and he determined to send 
Aloysius in whose prudence and judgment he had the greatest 
confidence. And with good reason; for on several occasions 
he had entrusted him with negociations with various Princes, 
and he had carried them out and brought them to a con 
clusion to his very great satisfaction. Aloysius went accordingly 
to do what his father desired, and he was forced to remain 
eight or nine months at Milan. He managed the business 
with such skill and foresight, although it was very difficult and 
involved, as to gain what the Marquis desired. Nor was it 
altogether time wasted for Aloysius. He had completed his 
logic in Spain, as has been narrated; and he continued natural 
science at the Brera, the College of the Society. With his great 
talents and rare intellect, he made considerable progress in his 
studies. He went morning and evening to the lectures, and if 
business prevented him he had the lecture taken down for him to 
study privately. AVhen there were public disputations, he not 
only went to them but he took his turn in arguing for or against 
the theses; nor would he claim any exemption whatever. Though 
in these discussions his acute intelligence was plain to see, yet 
he was so modest that never 4id. an unguarded word escape his 
lips, nor, as his professor attests, did he ever show the least 
thoughtlessness of youth in what he said or did. This remarkable 
modesty won for him the affection of all. 

XII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. * \ 

He attended also every day in the same College a lecture 
on Mathematics. As the lecturer did not dictate his course, 
Aloysius, for fear of forgetting what he had heard, on his return 
home, used at once to dictate to his servant what he had heard. 
With such ease and clearness and with so wonderful a memory 
did he accomplish this that I was perfectly amazed when the 
man who had written down the lectures and who kept them 
as relics, showed them to me at Castiglione. Never had he 
forgotten a proof or misplaced the figures, the measures, the 
calculations, the points, lines, or correct terms with which those 
pages are filled. He went to the College very quietly dressed 
in black Florentine serge, without a sword. He hardly ever 
said a word to his attendants in the streets. He was generally 
on foot though there were plenty of horses in his stables. His 
sole recreation, during his stay in Milan, was conversation with 
the Jesuit Fathers, and a good deal of his leisure time was 
passed in talking first to one then to another Father on 
spiritual topics or on his studies. His professor of science 
remarked that when in conversation with religious, or even with 
laymen of some position, he showed them so much respect, that 
he kept his eyes downcast and rarely looked them in the face. 
Nor did he talk only with the priests and scholastics, but with 
the lay brothers also, and especially with the Porter of the 
College, and he considered it a great favour if the Brother left 
the keys of the door in his hands while he went to summon 
one of the Fathers, for he imagined himself thus to be already 
a Jesuit. 

Aloysius knew that, except when there was a holiday during 
the week, there were no lectures on Thursdays, and that the Fathers 
of the College were accustomed to walk out to a villa called La 
Chisolfa about a mile and a half outside the Porta Comasina. 
The Saint used to start off on foot early in the morning, and 
would make his attendants stay somewhat behind, while he went 
on alone, either reading spiritual books, or meditating, or gathering 
violets in spring-time, till he saw some of the Fathers coming 
along the road. When they passed by him, he respectfully saluted 
them, and then quietly followed them gazing after them as 
long as they were not hidden by a turn of the road. And he 
took as much pleasure and delight in merely looking at them, 
as if he had seen the very angels of heaven. He deemed them 

72 The Life of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. Chap. XII. 

already blessed because they had no hindrance to the service 
of God, as he had, and he yearned after a condition like their 
own. When they were arrived at the villa, he turned back to meet 
others, and so he went home full of joy. Everyday during 
the Carnival he went to the College to avoid all worldly 
pageants and to talk on pious subjects, and he used to say his 
pageants were the Jesuits, whose society was more delightful to 
him than anything in the world. He spoke with such contempt 
of worldly amusements that it was easy to see how 7 little he 
cared for them. 

One day during Carnival there was a magnificent tournament 
at which the whole City was present, and especially all the young 
men of family, who were mounted on horses of great price, 
and as magnificently caparisoned as possible. Aloysius made 
up his mind to be present in order to trample on the world and 
thus overcome himself by a public humiliation. Though, as has 
been said, he had a number of horses in his stables, and one 
was usually led after him with housings of velvet, on that day 
quite exceptionally he rode through the streets, full of the nobles, 
on a little old mule, .attended by only two servants. He 
showed his contempt of the world, as he let it laugh at him. 
Many religious noticed this action of his to their great con 
solation and joy. 

As to his religious practices, S. Aloysius followed his 
ordinary custom, nor did he ever omit his usual meditations. He 
often and willingly paid a visit to devout places, and especially 
to the Madonna di San Celso, whither crowds went at that time 
on account of its many miracles. He went to Communion at the 
Jesuit Church, San Fidele, every Sunday and holiday, and he 
did so with such humility and devotion that all who saw him 
were greatly edified, for he seemed to inspire fervour and holi 
ness. A Father 41 who then was preaching in that church, de 
clared that whenever he wished to rouse himself to earnestness 
and devotion in his sermons, he turned to look at S. Aloysius, 
who was always present at his discourses, and who took 
up his position in front of the pulpit. At the mere sight 
of him he felt his soul moved and softened as though he saw 
something sacred, so high was the repute of sanctity in which 
he was then held. 

74 The Life of Chap. 


The Emperor consents to the renunciation. The Saint 

again urged by his father, is again victorious. 

1 585, 

he reply of the Emperor giving his consent to the 
renunciation had already arrived, and as Aloysius 
was now 17, he was expecting every day to be 
recalled to Castiglione, and to be able freely to 
take his flight to religious life, when suddenly a fresh storm 
arose which drove him back from the mouth of the harbour 
into the open sea. His father possibly thought that his 
son, weary with waiting, had grown cold about his resolve. 
Or, whether it was that moved by his fatherly affection, he 
could not bring himself to grant the leave required, or whether 
from other human motives, he resolved one day to go over to 
Milan again to test the will of S. Aloysius, and to get others 
to do so, that he might once for all make it quite clear if it 
was God s wish or not that his son should come to so grave a 
determination. He arrived at Milan quite unexpectedly and 
asked Aloysius what he was going to do. He found him firmer 
and more resolute than ever, and was terribly grieved. He first 
spoke to him in anger; then he began to talk to him in a friendly 
way, and to prove to him that he was not so bad a Christian 
as to wish to offend God or to oppose His Will, but that reason 
told him that it was not a call from on high, but a mere fancy 
of his son, because the love which Heaven commands us to 
have towards our father, and many other reasons drawn from 
God s service, dictated the very contrary of what he intended 
to do. The Marquis began to argue, with every motive that 
affection could dictate, that his entry into religion would be the 
complete ruin of his family. He set before him the excellent 
dispositions which God had given him, wherein there was no 
danger of his being turned from a good life, so that there was 
no occasion to fear remaining in the world. For even in the 
world he could lead the life of a religious, and he would main 
tain the subjects whom God had given him in the observance of 

XIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 75 

His laws, and, by his example, lead them to Christian piety. By 
this road too he had the gate of heaven open to him. He re 
minded him of the respect, the confidence and love his vassals 
had towards him, and how they longed and implored God that 
they might fall under his rule. He pointed out how his court 
eous manners had won him the favour of the Princes whom he 
had met, and how highly esteemed he was by them. He laid 
before him the ardent character of his younger brother, to 
whom he was about to resign his States; his youth, his inex 
perience, which made him less fit for the exercise of authority; 
the danger there was of his committing follies, if he were left 
his own master when so young. "See," he said, "how ill I 
am, scarcely able to move on account of being tortured 
and enfeebled by continual attacks of gout. I require to be 
relieved of the burden of government, which you could this 
very moment undertake. Whereas if you enter a religious 
order and abandon me, affairs will arise to which I shall not 
be able to give my attention, and I shall be crushed by troubles 
and misfortune, and you will be the cause of my death." And 
at this point the Marquis burst into a flood of tears and went 
on to say words full of sorrow and deep emotion . 

S. Aloysius listened to what his father had to say, then 
humbly thanked him for all the affection and fatherly love 
which he had shown to him, and he added that he had care 
fully considered all, or, at least, most of what his father had 
spoken. He was fully aware of his duty, and had not God 
called him to another kind of life, he would have done wrong 
not to have heeded the considerations which had been laid 
before him, and especially the duty of obeying and helping his 
father, to whom, after God, he was under the most special 
obligations. As, however, he was induced to enter the religious 
life not by caprice but out of obedience to God, Who was 
calling him to His service, so he trusted that his Lord, Who 
knows everything, and sees everything, would arrange all ac 
cording to the good will of His Divine Majesty, and to the 
advantage likewise of their family and their States, nor could 
they expect less from the Divine Goodness. 

When the Marquis learnt that S. Aloysius was firm in the 
conviction that he was called by God, and that this alone 
moved him to take so weighty a resolution, he felt that if he 

7 6 The Life of Chap. 

wanted to make his son give up his purpose, he must first of 
all remove this conviction. He accordingly took steps that 
various persons both seculars and religious should examine and 
test the mind of Aloysius, and that they should try to persuade 
him that it would be to God s service, if he remained in the 
world for the government of his States. Each of these persons, 
to please Don Ferrante, for several days, separately examined 
the Saint s vocation; they put before his eyes with all the 
eloquence they could the difficulties of religious life; and they 
tested in various ways his constancy. But one and all were so 
thoroughly satisfied, and so greatly admired the firmness of 
the young man, that they declared to the Marquis that 
the vocation was from God, and even spoke in the highest 
praise of Aloysius. 

When the Marquis heard all these various declarations, 
so much against his wish and yet so thoroughly agreeing with 
one another, he determined once for all to clear up the question 
whether the vocation was God s will or no. He had himself 
carried in a chair to S. Fidele, the Jesuit house, for the gout 
prevented his going there any other way. There he summoned 
Father Gagliardi, 42 who was of great repute in Milan, and told 
him that in an affair of such importance as that of losing his 
eldest son and such a son, he had determined to rely on his 
opinion and be guided by his advice. He wished however that 
first of all the Father should examine Aloysius in his presence 
as to his vocation, and begged him to bring forward against it 
the strongest reasons that his talents and learning could sug 
gest. On his own part he promised that, after that, he would set 
his mind at rest, as far as he possibly could. The Father, to 
content the Marquis, consented. S. Aloysius was sent for, and 
the Father examined him very carefully for a whole hour. 
He put before him every difficulty that could be devised to 
test his vocation and to see whether it were genuine or not. 
And as to the choice of the Society in particular, he spoke 
so strongly and made objections greater than which could 
not be presented to anyone who was going to enter that order, 
that it really seemed as if these were his own opinions; so 
much so that S. Aloysius began to suspect that F. Gagliardi 
was speaking seriously and meant what he said, as he himself 
told me afterwards when he had been received. The respect 

XIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 77 

and esteem in which he held that Father made him hesitate for 
a moment. For as the Saint often said, no one had ever 
before so thoroughly felt his pulse, or used arguments against 
him exactly as if they were his own convictions. However Aloy 
sius always replied with such frankness to all his questions, 
solved so completely all his difficulties, and that not only by 
argument, but with the authority both of Holy Scripture and 
of Theologians, that the Father was not merely edified, but 
was amazed to see how well grounded he was in his vocation, 

Casale-Monferrato. Tower and Castle gate. 
(See P. I, ch. 6.) 

and thoroughly versed in the Bible and sacred writers. He 
thought he must have read what S. Thomas of Aquin has 
written in his Summa Theologia about religious orders, so 
correct and to the point were his answers and his solutions 
of the objections which he brought forward. The result 
was that Father Gagliardi was so astounded that he exclaimed: 
"Signor Aloysius, you are right. It certainly is as you have 
said. There is no doubt about it. You have both edified 
and satisfied me." These words were a comfort to the young 

78 The Life of Chap. 

man, for they showed him that the Father s ideas were not 
those which he had put forward in order to test him. And the 
Marquis himself, having bid Aloysius to leave the room, acknow 
ledged that his was a great and divine vocation; and he began 
to recount the holy life which his son had led from infancy, 
declaring that he was willing to allow him to enter religious 
life. A few days later Don Ferrante returned to Castiglione. 
S. Aloysius remained to despatch some business. He was 
then to complete the affair of his renunciation and he got 
through his business as fast as possible, for every hour 
was like long years to him until he could be safe out of 
the world and of its perils. 


S. Aloysius first goes to Mantua to make the Exercises, 
and then to Castiglione. 


s the time for his return to Castiglione drew near, 
and since, from what had passed, S. Aloysius felt sure 
he would have to go through some fresh tempest, 
before he left Milan he wrote to the General of 
the Society an ardent letter, in which he told him of his troubles 
and asked his advice as to what he was to do. He begged 
his Paternity, in case his father should try again to hinder or 
delay his going into religious life, that he might, without any 
further permission of the Marquis, take refuge in some house 
of the Society, now that everyone could see that his vocation 
was evidently from God. Though the General deeply pitied 
the young man and was very concerned about the danger he 
was in, still he deemed that what Aloysius requested ought not to 
be granted against the wish of his father. He replied that Aloysius 
was to do all in his power to obtain that consent, as this was 
undoubtedly to the greater glory of God, to his own greater 
good and that of the whole Society. The Saint followed the 
advice and left Milan. But before going to Castiglione, he 
went to Mantua and there partly for his own consolation, partly 
to strengthen his will and fortify himself against the assaults which 
he feared, he made the Spiritual Exercises of S. Ignatius in 

XIV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 79 

the Jesuit College of that city. This was in the July of i 5 8 5 , 
just at the time when the Japanese Ambassadors were expected 
every day. They had come from the far East to Rome to 
acknowledge and submit themselves to the See of Peter, and pay 
homage to the Sovereign Pontiff, Christ s Vicar on earth, in the 
name of their Sovereigns and of the Christians of Japan. They 
were returning home at the conclusion of their embassy to 
Gregory XIII. , who was on the throne at their arrival, and 
afterwards to his successor, Sixtus V., whose election occurred 

Casale -Monferrato. Entrance to the house, in which S. Aloysius father, 

Don Ferrante, lived with his family. 

(See P. I, ch. 6.) 

during their stay in Rome. After visiting the Holy House of 
Loreto, and going through a large portion of Lombardy, they 
reached Mantua in July. There they were received by Duke 
William and his son Don Vincent with royal magnificence and 
every honour. Crowds of people came in from every side 
and were astonished at the preparations, the festivities, and 
especially at a novel so spectacle as that of the Ambassadors 
themselves, whom they saluted with their ardent blessings, 
but S. Aloysius cared nothing for any sights or rejoicings 

8o The Life of Chap. 

and remained in doors and in solitude. During the great heat 
of summer he kept himself shut up for two or three weeks in 
a very small room. He spent the entire time in prayer and medi 
tation, and with such fervour that he did not allow a moment to 
pass without vocal or mental prayer, or spiritual reading. 43 All 
that time he took so little food that one could almost say that he 
eat nothing, and Brother Michael Angelo Pasqualini and others, 
who waited on him at table, wondered how he could support 
life. Father Antony Valentino 44 conducted his retreat. He 
was a religious of great experience in this, and well in 
formed about the spiritual life, as for twenty five years he had 
been Rector and Master of Novices in the Venetian Pro 
vince. S. Aloysius made a confession of his whole life to 
him with great feeling and devotion, and as the Father writes 
in a letter, he was much amazed at it, and edified by the rare 
virtue of the Saint. To this also he deposed on oath, when 
he was examined by the Vicar of the Bishop of Reggio at 
Novellara. On that occasion he was asked whether he was aware 
that S. Aloysius had led a life of perfection, adorned by nume 
rous virtues and spiritual gifts. He replied as follows: "Yes, 
my Lord, I am aware, not merely from what I have heard our 
Fathers say, but much more from a young man who was his 
valet, Clement Ghisoni, who wrote out his lectures, and was 
almost his fellow student, from whom I have learnt a great deal 
about the penance, love of retirement, the extraordinary acts of 
virtue, and holy life of this young man. I know it too from 
a still better source, because I had at that time to see much 
of him, as I was engaged in giving him the Spiritual Exercises, 
with a view of his being more sure about his vocation, as it was 
his father s wish that he should be. On this occasion I heard his 
general Confession. Spite of much consideration, I cannot 
recall anything which I could put down as a mortal sin; on the 
contrary I could record many marvellous things, thanks to his 
holy " and very virtuous life. This I certainly can affirm, that 
his Confession left deeply impressed on my mind a high idea 
of his holiness, innocence, and great purity, and I have always 
spoken of him in this sense." 

This Father, for some reason or other, left Mantua, and 
another Father, Lelius Passionei, went on with the Exercises. 
To him the Saint went several times to confession, and he also 

XIV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 81 

deposed on oath, that he admired in Aloysius a remarkable 
goodness, purity, devotion, humility, mortification, as well as 
other virtues. On this occasion the Constitutions and rules 
of the Society were shown to him. After diligently reading 
them, he said that he found no difficulty in any of them. When 
about to leave he asked for a copy of the meditations on the 
Passion for his use when he was gone. 

At last he returned to Castiglione, and as soon as he 
arrived, he was anxious to push on his affairs; but not to irritate 
the Marquis, he waited for some days to see if his father would 
himself say anything about it. Meantime he led a very severe 
and holy life, a subject of wonder to all his household and the 
people. For when he went out of the Castle, he used to walk 
with his eyes cast down, only looking up to bow to the vassals 
when they saluted him, and so polite and exact was he in this, 
that he almost always had his hat off. When he went to church 
to hear Mass, although a kneeling stool with a carpet and 
velvet cushions were made ready for him and for his younger 
brother, he never would use them, but knelt down on both 
knees on the pavement, and he remained in this way for hours, 
motionless, with his eyes cast down, hearing Mass, saying his 
Office, or meditating. On Sundays and holidays especially, 
when he always went to Communion, he used to stay so long, 
that Rodolph would go out for a walk, and when he came 
back to go home with him, found him still at his prayers. 
During Vespers, to which he always went, he never would sit 
down, but remained kneeling to the great edification of all 
who saw him. At home he kept up his usual abstinence and 
prayers. He was generally alone in his room. He spoke so 
rarely that for days he scarcely said a word, and when he did 
speak it was either because he was obliged, or in order that he 
might speak on spiritual topics. He used to tell us that when he 
became a religious, he talked more in one day than he had done 
in the world for several months, and that if by chance he had to 
return to his home, he would have to alter his ways and to be 
very watchful, so as not to scandalize those who had known him 
when a layman. For it might seem to them that in religious life 
he had grown relaxed rather than otherwise. Yet we know how 
exact he was in keeping silence, and that he never spoke except 
when his Superiors bade him talk in order to rest his mind. 

The Life of 


S. Aloysius increased his austerities to such a degree that 
it seemed as if he were too weak to stand. There is no 
doubt that in his fervour he went beyond all bounds and 
reason; but he thought he was right in doing so, and as he 
had no one to guide him, he let his fervour be his director. 
One of the motives which his mother put before her husband, 
to induce him to allow Aloysius to become a religious, was 
that if he stayed with them they would very soon lose him, as 
it was impossible for him to live long in the way he was going 
on; whereas in religious life his Superiors would take greater 
care of him, and would moderate his indiscreet fervour, while 
he, on his part, would do what they told him. In fact, this 
was what did happen; and he himself owned that religious life 
was not only good for his soul, but also for his body, thanks to 
the kindness of Superiors, who put on the brake, as he used to 
say, to his indiscretions. At this time he worked harder than 
ever to guide his younger brothers to piety and to teach 
them how to pray. To encourage them he would give them 
sugarplums and caress them when they said their prayers. Of 
all his brothers, the one whom he always seemed to like 
the best was Francis, who succeeded his brother Rodolph in 
the Marquisate on January 3 rd , 1693, ejther because he was just 
old enough to be taught, or because he foresaw, as some think, 
how great would be his future success as head of his house 
and of his States. And his mother used to narrate how 
one day Francis was playing with the pages of the house 
hold and shouting at the top of his voice. She heard him 
and was so alarmed, that she looked into the room and said to 
S. Aloysius, who was with him: "I am frightened lest they should 
hurt my boy." But Aloysius replied: "Do not be afraid; Francis 
knows how to defend himself. And remember what I tell you, 
Francis will be the mainstay of our family." The Marchioness 
remembered these words, and every one who knows how 
Don Francis bore himself in the tragedy which happened 
in his family, and who sees to what a position he has raised it, 
will recognize how true they were. Signor Peter Francis Turcp, 
the tutor of our Saint, recounted, as instances of his predictions, 
that when he was in the world he prophesied many things 
about his vassals, which happened just, as he had said they 

XV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 83 

S. Aloysius has to bear new trials from his father. 


any days had passed, and the Marquis had said 
not a word about S. Aloysius affairs. As our Saint 
was anxious that they should be brought to a con 
clusion, he made up his mind to press him to come 
to a decision, and accordingly he gently reminded him that 
it seemed that the time had come when he should carry out his 
design. The Marquis saw that he must say Yes or No. But 
the request wounded him deeply, and he replied that he did not 
think he had ever given or intended to give the permission 
required, till the vocation was more mature and Aloysius was 
of an age to be able to carry it out, say about twentyfive. "If 
you want to go, you may go and God speed you; but remember, 
never will I give my consent, nor own you as my son!" When 
poor Aloysius heard so unexpected a reply, it nearly killed him, 
and he implored his father, with a voice broken by sobs, for the 
love of God, .not to do him so grievous a wrong. But the 
Marquis was immoveable, and refused absolutely to give his 

S. Aloysius, when clearly there was no remedy, saw that 
he must take time to deliberate on what was to be done. He 
withdrew in tears and thoroughly disconsolate to his room, 
there to recommend the affair to God, and then to write to the 
General of the Society for advice. But the Marquis pressed him 
so hard for an answer, and was in such a hurry that the Saint 
could not wait for a reply from the General, and had to choose 
the lesser of two evils. Accordingly he said to his father: "Though 
nothing could happen more painful to me, or which would rob 
my soul more thoroughly of its peace, than to see my entry 
into religious life delayed, still to satisfy you, my father, whom, 
after God, I would wish above all others to please, I am willing 
to make a concession. And this all the more, as the Father 
General bade me to try to gain your approval for my leaving, 
as far as that is possible with a safe conscience and without 

84 The Life of Chap. 

offending God. I consent then to defer my project for two or 
three years longer, provided two conditions are kept. If you refuse 
either of these two, I cannot with safe conscience displease God 
to please my father, and I would rather, against your will, be a 
wanderer through the world, if the Fathers of the Society will 
not receive me, than in any way sacrifice, my duty to God. The 
conditions are, first that I shall spend the time of this interval 
before entering the order, in Rome, where my vocation will be 
more secure, and where I can with greater ease attend to my 
studies; secondly that you now give your consent, that I should 
enter the Society after the lapse of this period, and write in 
this sense to the General, so that no difficulty may afterwards 

The Marquis was vexed at his laying down such conditions, 
as they seemed to run counter to his plans; and for two days 
obstinately refused to bind himself either to any fixed time, 
or to anything else. At last however he was overcome by the 
firmness of S. Aloysius, and by the fairness of his proposal. 
He was frightened too of driving him to extremities, and of 
forcing him to take some fresh step which would be still more 
painful. He allowed himself to be persuaded, and promised 
to do what was asked of him. S. Aloysius at once informed 
the General by letter, telling him the reasons which had induced 
him to take that decision with his father. He ended by ex 
pressing at some length how great was his grief at seeing a thing 
he so earnestly desired again deferred. 

The saintly youth was inconsolable, and lamented with 
bitter tears his being born in so high a station, and the eldest 
son; and he envied with a holy envy those whose birth was 
more lowly and so had not so many hindrances to entering 
religious life. But God, the Consoler of the afflicted, Who 
hears promptly the prayers of those who are in trouble, and, 
that when they least expect it, consoled Aloysius by breaking 
down in a moment every obstacle that had stood in his way, 
so that this His beloved servant was able to obtain all that he 
desired. When arrangements were being made about his stay 
in Rome, the Marquis wanted him to live with Cardinal Vincent 
Gonzaga/ 5 son of Ferdinand, Count of Guastalla, and Don 
Ferrante begged the Duke of Mantua to write to the Cardinal, 
who was his cousin, and was then in Rome. Duke William 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 85 

readily promised to do this, for he was very fond of Aloysius. 
However he and the Marquis quarrelled about which of them 
should be the first to write, and, as neither would yield, matters 
remained as they were, and nothing more was done. It seems 
that this was a special providence of God, and S. Aloysius 
regarded it as such, for had the Duke, to please the Marquis, 
written to the Cardinal, our Saint, as he himself said, would 
have been put into a position from which he would not have 
been able to free himself for years. 

Crea, the place of pilgrimage near Casale -Monferrato at the time of 
S. Aloysius. 

i. Ruins of the Tower of Bardellona. 2. The so called "Tower of the Devil". 

3. Ruins of the old Fortress. 4. The house for Pilgrims. 5. Basilica and Monastery. 

After a lithograph in Godio s "Cronaca di Crea", P. I, pag. 14, 15. 

(See P. I, ch. 6.) 

As this plan had fallen through, the Marquis wished that 
his son should lodge in the Roman Seminary, then under the 
care of the Society of Jesus, in private quarters, and with a 
small retinue of servants befitting his rank, where he could 
devote himself to his studies under the direction of the Fathers, 
till the time agreed upon. This however was against the laws 
of the Institution, and permission had never been given for 
such an arrangement to anyone. The Marquis with the view 
of obtaining this favour, despatched a fresh messenger to Rome 
with a letter to Cardinal Scipio Gonzaga 46 begging him to see 

Saint Aloysius. 

86 The Life of Chap. 

the General on the subject and, if it were at all possible, 
to obtain from him this favour. The Cardinal fulfilled his 
commission with all zeal. But on hearing the objections to this 
arrangement, he saw it was impossible, and wrote accordingly to 
Don Ferrante, who however did not abandon all hope of obtaining 
his wish, and entreated Aloysius to write to Leonora of Austria, 
the Duchess of Mantua, a great benefactress of the Society, and 
to get her to induce the General to consent. Aloysius wisely 
answered that he was the very last who ought to push the 
matter, for it was both against the interests of his soul, and 
against his good name, as it would give grounds for some to 
suspect that he had either changed his mind or at least grown 
cold about h is purpose. And all the more because it was only 
a few months since he had asked the Duchess to help him to 
forward as much as possible the deed of renunciation at the 
Imperial Court. So this plan also was given up. 

AVhile some other was being thought out, our Saint took 
courage, and gave himself with new ardour to penance, fasts, 
and prayer, and always offered up Communion with this intention, 
to beg God to remove once for all the obstacles in his way. 
One day in particular, after spending four or .five hours in 
prayer, he felt himself impelled by a powerful force to go to 
his father, who was then confined to bed by gout, and again to 
beg him for his authorization. He was convinced that this 
impulse came from God, and was a special inspiration of the 
Holy Ghost. He rose from his knees and went straight to his 
father s room, and with all the earnestness and firmness he could 
muster he said these very words: "Father, I place myself entirely 
in your hands, do with me what you please. But I declare to 
you that I have been called to the Society of Jesus by God, 
and by your opposition to this vocation you are resisting the 
will of God." As soon as he had uttered these words, without 
waiting an instant for an answer, he left the room. The Mar 
quis was so struck, that he said not a word. But when he 
began to think over the resistance he had been making to 
his son s vocation, he was afraid -that perhaps he had offended 
God by his conduct. On the other hand he felt so bitterly the 
loss of such a son, and was touched and moved to such 
a degree, that he turned his face the wall, and tears began 
to fall in streams. He remained weeping so long and bitterly, 

XV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 87 

with such sighs, sobs, and cries of grief that the whole house 
were wondering what had happened to him. 

After a while, he summoned Aloysius. "My son," he said 
to him, you have stricken me to the heart, because I love you, 
and I have always loved you as you deserve. On you are 
fixed all my own hopes and those of my family. But since 
God calls you, as you tell me, I do not wish to stop you. Go, 

Miraculous Picture of Our Lady of Crea 

which S. Aloysius often visited during his stay in Casale-Monferrato. 
(See P. I, ch. 6.) 

my son, where you wish. I give you my blessing." So tenderly 
and with so much feeling did he pronounce these words, that 
he broke out afresh into new tears and could not be calmed. 
Aloysius thanked him briefly, and then left the room for fear 
of adding to his sorrow. When he reached his own apartment 
he shut himself up alone, and there prostrate on the ground 
with arms outspread and eyes lifted up to heaven, he began 

The Life of Chap. 

with many tears to thank God for the inspiration which He 
had just sent him, and for the result which had followed. He 
offered himself up as an entire holocaust to His Divine 
Majesty, and with such interior sweetness, that he was not 
able to satisfy himself in praising and blessing God. 



S. Aloysius renounces his Marquisate, and puts on the 
clerical dress. 


o sooner had the Marquis granted S. Aloysius the 
permission for which he had longed, than the news 
spread through Castiglione. How deeply it was felt 
by the people was shown by the tears which so 
many of them shed. Every time that the Saint went out into the 
town, during the few days that he was obliged to remain there, 
men and women ran to the doors and windows to see him and 
to salute him. Then they would begin to cry, and that so bit- 
terly, that it brought tears to his own eyes. Everyone spoke of 
his sanctity, and lamented that they had not deserved to have 
so holy a prince to govern them. Some who had the entrance to 
the house, and were privileged to speak more freely to him, 
came up to him one day, and said amidst their tears: "Signor 
Aloysius, why are you leaving us? You have such fine States, 
your vassals are so attached to you; and besides the love they 
owe to you, as their natural prince, they are specially devoted 
to you. And now, just when we were expecting you to take up 
the government, are you going to abandon us?" Aloysius replied: 
"I assure you I want to go and secure a crown in heaven, and 
it is too difficult for the ruler of a State to save his soul. One 
cannot serve two masters, the world and God; I wish to secure 
my salvation, and take care you do the same." 

S. Aloysius was anxious to leave his father s house as soon 
as possible, and hasten to the House of God. He was however forced 
to stay some weeks, partly to await his mother s return from 
Turin, where she had been on a visit to the Infanta Catherine, 

XVI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 89 

the Duchess of Savoy, and partly to arrange and conclude the 
affair of the renunciation. It had been stipulated by the express 
order of the emperor that all those relatives of the house of 
Gonzaga should be present , who , in case of failure of heirs to 

S. Aloysius. 
From a pen and ink sketch of Prof. Lewis Seitz. 

the Marquis successors, might become successors to his States. 
As they lived at Mantua, Don Ferrante, for their convenience, 
although he was not well, chose to go there. At his departure 
from Castiglione with S. Aloysius , not only .did all those of the 

90 The Life of Chap. 

household who had to remain behind begin to weep, both men 
and women, but a universal cry of grief went up throughout the 
place when they saw their young master driving away in a 
carriage. They knew he was leaving, never to come back, and 
they feared they would not see him again. 

For the last few days nothing was talked about, at home 
or abroad, but his goodness and holiness; and they told one 
another of the different acts of virtue they had noticed in him. 
And while they all extolled him as a saint, they were amazed 
that he had abandoned his .States so willingly, and in order 
to follow his vocation had borne so bravely and with such 
constancy, and finally overcome, the many attacks his father and 
other people of note had made against him. Aloysius stayed at 
Mantua some two months, during which time he was generally 
to be found at the Jesuit College. He used to go there to talk 
with the Fathers, or for confession and Communion, which he 
approached very frequently to the edification of the entire city. 
As it was known why he had come to Mantua, everyone and es 
pecially the nobility regarded him with veneration, and they 
owned that the sight of him inspired them with devotion. The 
reason of his staying so long in Mantua was because, as al 
ready stated, one condition of his renunciation was that he should 
reserve four hundred dollars a year for life, to spend on any 
thing he pleased. But the Rector of the College told him that 
in the Society no one could have anything of his own or dis 
pose of it as he liked or for his own use, but that everything 
was at the disposal of the Superior, and this was most strictly 
observed in order to maintain poverty in all its purity. The 
Colleges alone had revenues , but all was in common , and their 
members were provided in common with what they required. 
Don Ferrante on learning this was unwilling that an annual allow 
ance should be reserved for his son, for he said that when he 
had ordered that such a condition should be laid down, his 
intention was that the money should remain at his son s dis 
posal. Now that he learnt that the Society could not allow this, 
he was desirous to put that condition at one side. S. Aloysius 
made no difficulty on his own part, for he did not mind how 
the renunciation was made, so long as it was finally settled. 
Some lawyers, however, warned the Marquis, that, as the deed 
had been confirmed by the Emperor on that condition, there 

XVI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 91 

was a danger lest, if it were put aside, the whole would be made 
insecure. While this was being discussed and legal counsel 
taken, a much longer time was occupied than had been ex 
pected. S. Aloysius was deeply mortified, and he pressed so 
hard that at length, he got this fresh obstacle removed, and the 
deed was drawn up with every safeguard that was desired. 

When all was arranged, on the morning of November 2 nd , 
i 5 8 5 , a meeting was held in the Palace , called S. Sebastian, 
at Mantua, where the Alarquis was staying. There were present 
Don Vincent, Prosper Gonzaga, the nearest relative, and the 
other noblemen who had to take part, and, in presence of 
the required witnesses and others, the renunciation was settled. 47 
Those who were there recount that while the notary was reading 
the long document, the Marquis was so grieved that he did 
nothing but cry bitterly; S. Aloysius on the contrary, seeing that 
he had obtained what he desired, was so full of joy, that Signer 
Prosper declared he never saw him so merry as on that day. 
Yet the very morning on which the deed was signed, some 
persons of high rank who had come there with Prince Vincent, 
the son and heir of the Duke of Mantua, had annoyed S. 
Aloysius very much whilst the Prince was engaged with the 
Marquis, by ridiculing his wanting to be a religious, and by 
doing all in their power to oppose his completing the renunciation. 

The moment the deed was signed, the Saint, now free 
from all thought about property or government, retired alone to 
his room, and for more than a full hour stayed on his knees, 
thanking God for deigning to allow him to possess the .treasure 
of holy poverty, so earnestly desired by him. He felt so over 
flowing with heavenly sweetness and joy, that he ever after 
counted this among the most noteworthy visitations and favours 
he ever received from God. 4S It certainly was very wonderful 
that Don Ferrante, a prince who was so lavish and liberal as 
to deserve to be called a spendthrift rather than closefisted, 
should prove so mean to his eldest son, and such a son, whom 
he so tenderly loved, especially as it was he himself who had 
suggested putting aside the four hundred dollars a year. One may 
well believe that it was by God s permission that the Marquis 
went to . the other extreme, to complete the happiness of S. 
Aloysius, who in the first Courts of Europe had ever shown 
himself to be a faithful lover of holy poverty. 49 

92 The Life of Chap. 

When the Saint had finished his earnest thanksgiving, and 
rose from his prayer, he sent for a venerable priest, Don 
Lewis Cattaneo , whom he had brought with him from Castiglione, 
and asked him to bless a Jesuit habit of cloth which he had 
had made privately at Mantua. He then took off all his lay- 
clothes, even his shirt and silken hose, put on this clerical 
dress, and appeared in it in the hall where all the nobles were 
staying for dinner. This novel sight brought tears to every eye; 
and his father the Marquis , in spite of the great effort he made 
not to cry, could not stop weeping the whole of dinner. S. Aloysius, 
with a modest gaiety, took occasion from what had passed 
to begin, in a graceful way, to speak of the numerous oc 
casions of sin and the dangers of offending God to be met with 
in the world , of the emptiness of the passing goods of this life, 
of the great difficulties which Princes and the high-born have to 
save their souls, and of how earnestly everyone ought to strive 
to secure his salvation. With such ardour and authority did he 
speak, that all listened to him with loving reverence, and, for 
years after, they used to recount what he said on that occasion. 


S. Aloysius bids good bye to all his friends, and goes 
to Rome. His entry into the Society. 


fhe following day, November 3 rd , Aloysius bade farewell 
to Duke William, to the Duchess Eleanor and their 
son, the Prince Don Vincent. In the evening on 
bended knees he humbly asked the blessing of his 
father and of his mother who had just come back from Turin. 
One can easily fancy what tears were shed as they gave it to 
their son. Aloysius however, so Clement Ghisoni, his servant, tells 
us in the process, shed not a tear, so pleased was he to leave 
the world. The following morning he set out for Rome, with 
the suite which the Marquis gave him. It consisted of Don 
Lewis Cattaneo, whom our Saint took as his confessor on the 
journey, Peter Erancis del Turco, his tutor, Doctor John 

XVII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 93 

Baptist Bono , a man servant , and other attendants. One could 
hardly credit what little feeling he showed towards his own flesh 
and blood, on this his parting from his relations without any 
idea of coming back , and though he saw how bitterly they were 
weeping over his leaving. He scarcely said two words to his 
younger brother Rodolph on the road or at his parting. He 
went with him in the carriage as far as the river Po , where our 
Saint embarked for Ferrara. One of his gentlemen said to him 

Philip II. king of Spain. 

After the picture by Rubens in the Museum del Prado at Madrid. 
(See P. I, ch. 8.) 

a short time after on the boat: "I think Don Rodolph must have 
been very delighted to succeed to your States." "His delight 
in coming to the succession," replied Aloysius, "is not so great 
as is mine in renouncing it." At Ferrara, he paid a visit to the 
Duke Alphonsus d Este and to the Duchess Margaret Gonzaga 50 
his relation, and then left at once for Bologna. The Saint was 
anxious on this journey at all cost to visit the Holy House of 
Loretto, partly out of the devotion he had to that holy spot, 
partly to fulfil the vow his mother made at his birth. For 
though on occasion of a Jubilee that vow had been commuted 

g/j. The Life of Chap. 

on reasonable grounds and all that was required of them had 
already been done ; nevertheless Aloysius wished to carry out his 
mother s first intention, as well, as to satisfy his own private de 
votion. He resolved therefore to go first of all to Florence to 
visit the Grand Duke Francis , and from there to make his way 
to Loretto. When however he reached Pietra Mala, the frontiers 
of the Grand Duke s States, he found that so strict a guard had 
been set on account of the plague , that in spite of all his suite 
said, as to who he was, and where he was going, permission 
to pass could not be obtained. He was forced therefore to 
return to Bologna, and he wrote thence to apologise to the 
Grand Duke for not having been able to do what he had desired. 
From Bologna he went by the Romagna straight to Lo 
retto. When he arrived there no words can tell what consolation 
the Saint received from God and the Blessed Virgin. The first 
morning that he was there he heard five or six masses in the 
Holy House one after the other, and then went to Communion 
with very great fervour. His mind was so full of the immense 
favour that the human race had received in that sanctuary, and 
what Majesty and Holiness had been hidden therein, that he was 
melted to tears , nor could he tear himself away from the place. 
He would not even accept the invitation of the Father Rector 
to go and stay at the College of the Society in the town, but 
preferred to remain with his attendants at an inn, in order that 
might be more free to spend the whole day in the Holy House. 

Thither he went again after dinner. It had got abroad 
who he was, and why he was on his way to Rome. People 
pointed him out, and everyone was edified at the sight ot a 
young man of family -and wealth, who had made greater efforts 
to reach a lowly and poor condition of life, than other people 
do to gain riches and honours. Neffct morning, before leaving, 
he heard mass and went to Communion again in the Holy House. 
He stayed there some time in prayer, 51 and then. mounted and 
rode off towards Rome. 

His day, during the journey, was spent as follows. In 
the morning on getting up S. Aloysius made a quarter of an 
hour s meditation. Then he said the Breviary, Prime, Terce, 
Sext, and None, with Don Lewis, who, at his request, taught 
him how to recite the Office, as he had never said it before. 
When he had finished the little hours, he said the Itinerarium, 

XVII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 95 

and then got on horseback. He rode several miles alone, at 
a distance from his suite, reciting his Daily Exercise, and other 
vocal prayers, after which he made his meditation and con 
templation on the divine mysteries. In this way he devoted 
himself to his spiritual duties while riding along, just as well 
as others do in the quiet of their rooms. His attendants, who 
knew how he loved to be silent and to be left alone, did not 
dare to interrupt him, but kept always at some distance from 
him on purpose. As soon as our Saint wished to talk he called 
Don Lewis to his side, and began to converse with him on religious 
topics. When the hour came for baiting the horses Aloysius 
took a little breakfast, and when it was over he said Vespers 
and Compline with the priest, Don Cattaneo. He then recom 
menced the journey, and he would occupy part of the way think 
ing about austerities, in which, as he was so drawn to them, he 
hoped he would be able to indulge to his heart s content when 
a religious. Or he would discuss in his mind the Indies, the 
conversion of the heathen, and subjects of that kind. Hopes 
came up before him that some day he too might be sent on 
the foreign Missions in company with the Fathers who go there 
every year from Europe. 

In the evening when he had reached their quarters for the 
night, though it was midwinter and he was frozen with the 
cold, he never approached a fire, but went straight to his room, 
bolted the door, and there all alone took out a crucifix, which 
he always carried with him, and began his meditation before it. 
Thus he remained for two whole hours each evening, praying 
with such tears , sobs , and sighs , with such vehement feeling, 
that his attendants could overhear him outside. They looked at 
one another in amazement and were touched with compunction. 
When S. Aloysius had completed his meditation, he gave him 
self a protracted discipline. He then sent for Don Lewis and 
said Matins and Lauds with him. After that he sat down to 
supper, of which he partook most sparingly. He wanted 
to continue to fast, as he usually did, on the AVednesdays, 
Fridays, and Saturdays; however his confessor, who saw how 
weak and suffering he was during the journey, did not wish 
him to do so, and even forbade it. Our Saint obeyed as long 
as he was travelling, but he began his fasts again as soon as 
he reached Rome. At night when he went to his bed , he would 

9 6 

The Life of 


not have it warmed. Nor would he let anyone help him to un 
dress, though, as he had never in his life worn cloth stockings, 
until he dressed as a Jesuit at Mantua, he could hardly get 
them off at night. But once Don Lewis, out of pity for him, 
ran to help him. He found that his legs and feet were cold as 
ice , but he could not persuade Aloysius to go and warm himself. 
At Rome, they stopped at the house of the Patriarch 
Gonzaga, and after our Saint had taken a little rest, he went 
to the Gesu to see Father Claud Acquaviva, General of the 
Society. His Reverence came down stairs and met him in the 
garden. Aloysius threw himself at his feet, and offered himself 
to him to be both his son and subject, and that with such 
humility and fervour that the General could hardly make him 
rise from the ground. 52 On leaving the Gesii he went to call 
on several of the Cardinals, and amongst the rest Cardinals 
Farnese, Alessandrino, 53 d Este, and Medici, the last of whom 
became Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was received affectio 
nately and courteously, especially by the Cardinals Farnese 
and Medici, who did all in their power to induce him to stay 
with them. "When he had paid all the visits to the Sacred 
College which he was obliged to make, he went to the 
Seven Churches and to the chief places of devotion in Rome. 
It cannot be imagined how piously he made this pilgrimage, going 
from one Church to another in deep meditation, and reciting 
the psalms; and on arriving at the various Churches he made 
such repeated acts of outward veneration, as proved the de 
votion and piety of his soul. After going round the Churches, 
S. Aloysius went to receive the blessing of the Pope, Sixtus V., 
and to present to him some letters from his father, the Marquis. 
The instant he arrived in the Papal antechamber, as the Saint s 
intentions were known at the Papal Court, some of the atten 
dants gathered round him, and looked at him as something mi 
raculous. When he came into the presence of his Holiness, 
after kissing his foot, he presented his letters. The Pope asked 
him a number of questions about his vocation, and especially 
interrogated him as to whether he had well considered the 
wearisome toils of religious life. On his replying that he had 
carefully thought over and examined everything, his Holiness 
approved of his resolution and of his fervour. He gave him his 
blessing and dismissed him with many proofs of affection. This 

XVII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 97 

was on a Saturday. On his return home he began to feel ill; 
perhaps it was because on the day before he had been fasting 
on bread and water, and had put off his meal that day on ac 
count of the audience, till two hours before sundown, or for 

S. Aloysius at the age of about 14 years as page to Prince of the Asturias 

at the Court of Philip II. 

After an oil painting in the Royal Palace at Madrid. 
(See P. I, ch. 8.) 

some other reason. He was frightened lest some fresh obstacle 
should arise to his admission. However the illness passed away. 
The following morning, which was Sunday, S. Aloysius 
went to the Gesu, heard Mass and received Holy Communion 
in the chapel of SS. Abundius and Abundantius beneath the 
high altar, and then ascended to one of the tribunes to hear 

98 The Life of Chap. 

the sermon. He dined , in company with the Patriarch Gonzaga, 
with the Fathers in their refectory, at the invitation of the Father 
General. His Paternity ordered expressly that there should be 
a sermon during the meal , instead of the ordinary reading. The 
Patriarch was amazed at the modesty and whole demeanour of 
the young man , but above all at his words and his replies , and 
he remarked: "It is wonderful that this youth never makes a 
slip in speaking, but everything he says is well weighed and to 
the purpose." 

The household of the prelate were also much edified at 
him, and they, particularly noticed, what has been already told, 
that each morning which S. Aloysius was hearing Mass in the 
domestic chapel, as soon as the priest- came to the Elevation, 
the Saint began to shed such a torrent of tears that they fell 
on the floor, though he tried in vain to conceal them. 

At length on the morning of Monday, the 2 5 th of Novem 
ber, the feast of S. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr, i585, at 
the age of sixteen years, eight months, and sixteen days, 
Aloysius, joyful and happy, went up to Monte Cavallo and 
there entered the Jesuit Noviciate of S. Andrea. 54 He was ac 
companied by his suite arid by Scipio Gonzaga, who said Mass 
and gave him Communion with his own hand. The Cardinal 
stayed there for dinner , with the Father General , who had come 
expressly. The Rector of the house and Master of Novices 
was Father Jphn Baptist Pescatore, a saintly man, as will be 
told later on. On entering, S. Aloysius turned to those who 
had accompanied him from Mantua, and urged them to make 
sure their salvation. He thanked Dr. Bono for having come 
with him. He ordered his Majordomo to go to Leghorn and 
present his letters and respects to the Grand Duke of Tus 
cany. He bade his man servant give his regards to his mother, 
the .Marchioness; and, in conclusion, he said to Don Lewis: 
"Say to the Marquis, my father, these words, in my name: 
forget thy people, and thy father s house" His meaning clearly 
was that from that moment he desired to forget the home, his 
subjects, and the States which he had left behind. They asked 
him what they were to say to his younger brother Rodolph: 
"Tell him," he replied, "he who fears God, does what is good 
And with that he left them, and they went away lamenting the 
loss of such a good lord and master. 

XVII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. I. 99 

Last of all he thanked the Patriarch Gonzaga very warmly, 
for what he had done to further his vocation, and promised 
to pray God for him. The good man was so touched by what 
Aloysius said that he could not restrain his tears, and he 
owned that he had a holy envy of him for having chosen 
the better part. On leaving, the Patriarch said to the Fathers 
that they had in the person of Aloysius received an angel from 

When our Saint had bade good bye to every person and 
thing of this world, he was taken by the Master of Novices to 
a room, where he was to stay for a few days in retirement, all 
alone, without talking to the others of the house, there to make 
his first probation, according to the custom of the Society. 
On entering the cell, he seemed to be entering heaven , and he 
exclaimed: "This is my r&st for ever and ever, here will I dwell, 
because I have chosen it" When left by himself, he fell on 
his knees, and full of joy he thanked God, while tears of love 
came to his eyes, for having taken him out of Egypt, and brought 
him into the land of promise , flowing with the milk and honey 
of heavenly consolations. He offered and dedicated himself 
entirely as a sacrifice and perpetual holocaust to the Divine Ma- 
jesty, and begged for the grace to dwell worthily in the house 
of God,- and to persevere to death in His holy service. Ever 
after, as long as he lived, S. Aloysius observed with special 
devotion the anniversary of his entry into religious life, and he 
chose for his patroness, S. Catharine, whose feast is kept on 
that day. 


Saint Aloysuii. 

Chapel in the Roman College, 

in which S. Aloysius made his first vows ; Cappelletta de voti in its modern form. 
(See P. II, ch. 12 and note 34.) 


The perfection with which S. Aloysius made 
his noviciate. 


o far the life that S. Aloysius led while he re 
mained in the world, and the virtues with which 
he was adorned before he entered religion have been 
recorded. It is now time to narrate the holy life 
he followed after he was admitted into the Society. During 
this period he may be said to have been like a lamp which 
was lit but kept hidden under the bushel of religious training, 
for, as he died very young, even before he had entirely com 
pleted his theological studies, he was not of an age to be 
ordained priest. To this may be added, that during the few 
years he lived, his hands were so bound by the fatherly prudence 
of his superiors, and the excessive fervour that had transported 
him in the world was so checked by the commands of obedience, 

104 -^ ie Life f Chap, 

that he was compelled to moderate the extreme rigour with 
which he was accustomed to treat himself, and he was forced 
to lead a more regulated and discreet life. Hence anyone who 
measures his conduct from outward appearance only would 
easily infer that, in placing himself under obedi ence he had 
abandoned those more heroic actions which he used to per 
form while he remained under his father s roof. But if his 
life in religion is regarded by eyes which are purified and en 
lightened, it will be clearly seen what an increase of perfection 
he gained under the direction of holy obedience , and how much 
more precious were his works done in religion than those he 
had accomplished in the world. He acted in religion with greater 
light and knowledge, and practised many more virtues; he was 
entirely despoiled of his own will, and clothed with that of God; 
and thus however small the actions which he did they were 
ennobled and raised to a high value by his intention of seeking 
ahvays the greater glory of God, and by his intense desire 
after perfect charity. 

Among his many heroic virtues, two things may specially 
be mentioned in this second part. One was that, having been 
born and educated as a prince, and being of a very delicate 
and weak constitution , he nevertheless adapted himself imme 
diately in such a manner to common life, and to the discipline 
of the house, that he did not appear different from the others 
in any point. Never would he accept attention or any kind 
of privilege that his superiors offered of their own accord; and 
he applied himself with as much ardour to the lowest and vilest 
domestic duties as though he had been accustomed all his life 
to be a sen-ant, instead of having been waited on in everything. 

The second thing was that he was persuaded that the true 
and perfect Religious is he who observes precisely all the rules 
of his holy Institute, and uses all diligence in the perfect per 
formance of all, even the least exercises that religious lift- 
prescribes daily to each one. He gave himself up with zeal to 
the perfect observance of all the rules , and did with great atten 
tion and exactitude the daily and ordinary actions of religious 
life. By this means he reached such a height of perfection 
that he may justly be proposed as a type of sanctity to all 
those religious who desire to live holily; and especially to 
those of the Society, for the principal benefit of whom I intend 

I. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 105 

to write this second part of his life. I shall give it with great 
minuteness in order that they may have an example to imitate 
in the very least of their daily actions. 

When S. Aloysius had entered upon his first probation, 
in the way just described, he remained very recollected and 
retired during the days that it lasted, full of great calm and 
contentment of soul, sometimes meditating, and sometimes 
reading, if indeed his reading should not be called meditation, 
so close was the union of his mind with God. During this time, 
he was attacked by some kind of indisposition which may have 
been caused by the change of air and of life, or by the penances 
which he still continued to practise, or perhaps by the greater 
ardour and application of mind with which he applied himself 
to his mental exercises. His superiors were obliged on this 
account to allow him to leave his room rather sooner than is 
the custom, and they did this the more willingly because 
in the first place, he was already well instructed, as he had 
only a few months before made the Spiritual Exercises at 
Mantua, and read the rules and constitutions; in the second 
place, his vocation did not require proof, since it had been 
already tested by so many contradictions. He accordingly left 
his first probation, and he was placed in the hands of the 
doctor in order that he might recover somewhat from this new 
indisposition. When the linen that he had used on his arrival 
in Rome was sent to be washed, it was discovered that all his 
shirts were stained with blood from the continual disciplines 
that he had inflicted on himself every day. 

The Master of Novices perceived, when he was admitted 
to the company of the others , that he walked with his head too 
much bent down, and partly in order to correct him, partly to 
mortify him, he had a collar made of cardboard covered with 
cloth, and obliged him to wear it for many days, round his 
neck, in such a manner that he could not bend his head, but 
was obliged to hold it erect. lie wore it with great joy, and 
smiled at this little trial when he was talking with the Brothers. 

He showed all the other novices as much reverence and 
respect as though he were the least in the house. He began at 
once to ask for fasts, disciplines, hair-shirts, and like penances 
and mortifications. When he saw that the other novices did 
not wear a square clerical biretta such as he had worn, and 

io6 The Life of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. Chap. I. 

that their clothes were not made of such fine cloth as he used 
in the world, he implored the Superior to give him at once the 
ordinary biretta and the dress of the novices, which was done. 
Nor was he satisfied with this; for as his breviary had gilt 
edges and binding, 1 he asked to change it for one of the old 
and common ones of the house; and by degrees he deprived 
and stripped himself of everything that he had brought with him, 
rejecting everything that savoured of Egypt. 

It is a doctrine of the Holy Fathers, confirmed by the 
Scriptures, that God, by a lofty design and by special provi 
dence, tries all who dedicate themselves faithfully to His service; 
and this not by means of Satan, or for any fault of their 
own. It is He Himself who thus tries them, but simply in 
order to prove them. This He does in the case of enlightened 
souls especially by depriving them of that spiritual consolation 
which He is wont to give them so long as they are in His 
Divine service. S. Bernard says further in one of his sermons 2 
that it is not only the ordinary custom of God to act in this 
manner, but that it is necessary that it should be so for reasons, 
which he there mentions. Almighty God would not deprive His 
servant, Aloysius, of this favour. In the commencement of his 
new life he suffered an extraordinary desolation of soul, which 
although it caused him no disquietude or trouble, neither did 
it incite him to any kind of evil, yet deprived him of all the 
sweetness and spiritual joy which he had been accustomed to 
receive continually in the world; and this he deeply grieved to 
lose. He retained nevertheless this consolation, that whenever 
he began to pray he felt his heart at once grow lighter. Very 
soon however the cloud of sadness totally disappeared, and 
God Who had hidden Himself in order to try our Saint and 
to inflame his desires the more towards His Divine Lord, re 
turned to show Himself and to console his servant with new 
consolations. S. Aloysius regained his former peace and 

Another time the devil tried to make him fall into dis 
couragement by suggesting to him the thought that he would 
be of no use to the Society. But he recognised this as a tempt 
ation, and opposed it immediately, so that in half an hour it 
was completely vanquished. These two temptations were the 
only ones that he could acknowledge to have had during the 

Altar of the Miraculous Picture of "Our Lady of Good Counsel" in Madrid, 

before which S. Aloysius was called to the Society of Jesus. 

(See P. I, ch. 9 and note 31.) 

io8 The Life of Chap, 

whole of his noviciate; and the rest of the time he enjoyed con 
tinual peace and quiet. Nor is this to be wondered at, for 
Aloysius rose above all that depends on man , and referred every 
thing to the Divine Will in such a manner that it was hardly 
possible for him to be disquieted. 


How S. Aloysius acted on the death of his father. 


his calm he displayed clearly on receiving the news of 
the death of his father, the Marquis, which took place 
two months and a half after he had entered the 
Society, and which moved him no more than if it 
were something that did not concern him. When he was ad 
vised to write to his Mother a letter of condolence , he commenced 
it by saying that he thanked God that henceforth he could say 
more truly "Our Father, who art in Heaven." 3 ) Everyone was 
astonished at this, but more particularly those who were 
intimately acquainted with Aloysius, and knew the great 
affection and reverence he had always borne his father, which 
was so great that he used to say there was no being he loved 
more on earth. He himself confessed to some one that, if he 
had considered the death of his father in itself, it would without 
doubt have caused him the greatest sorrow, but that when he 
thought that it came to him from the hand of God, he could 
not be troubled at what he knew was pleasing to His Divine 
Majesty. This proves what has been already said, that he rose 
above all human occurrences, because he knew that everything 
depended on the will of God. 

This death of his father, which was sudden, gave him an 
occasion to learn the love that God bore him, and the singular 
providence that He showed to him. For had his father died 
two or three months sooner, before Aloysius had renounced his 
rights, or if he had deferred his entrance into religion these 
two months longer, God alone knows what might have happened. 
There would have been reason to fear that either the Father 
General would not have received him, in order not to deprive 

II. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 109 

his family of one so capable of being its chief, or that the 
people themselves, who had a great love for him, would have 
made such strong efforts to retain him , that he would have con 
sented to remain some time at the head of the government, in 
order not to leave the State in the hands of his younger brother, 
who was still but an inexperienced youth. But God, Who 
loved him, gave him the grace to enter religious life before that 
event, and so escape entirely from the world; and it was only 
afterwards that He called his father to Himself. 

Nor was the Divine Providence less marked in regard 
to the Marquis, Don Ferrante. He had all his life been an 
honoured soldier, but altogether intent on procuring worldly 
greatness and glory for his children and for his family. But so 
changed was his life, and so devout did he become on the entrance 
of Aloysius into religion that it astonished all who saw him. 

He entirely renounced gambling, to which he had been 
previously so much given; and every evening when he was 
confined to bed with the gout, he had the crucifix brought to 
him, which Aloysius had left behind him, and before this he 
recited the seven penitential psalms, assisted by Ghisoni, who 
had been his son s valet, and whom the Marquis had kept on 
as his own servant. He made his wife and his other children 
assist at the litanies, and during those prayers, he shed such 
floods of tears, accompanied by sighs and sobs, as clearly 
showed how strong were his interior sentiments of compunction. 
At the end of his life, taking the crucifix into his hands, and 
striking his breast, with many tears he recited these words: "Have 
mercy on me O Lord, for I have sinned; have mercy on me." 
He himself marvelled at his unusual readiness to weep , and he 
said that he knew well whence those tears proceeded, that they 
were the work of Aloysius who had obtained for him this com 
punction from God. He summoned to his side Don Lewis 
Cataneo , who had returned from Rome whither he had accom 
panied Aloysius. v The Marquis took him with him to the shrine 
of the Madonna of Mantua, 4 and there made a general con 
fession to him, of his life, with great exactness and contrition, 
as was related to me by Don Lewis himself; and in this fervour 
he persevered to the end. 

As he saw his malady make daily more and more progress, 
he had himself transported to Milan, to see if his physician 


The Life of 


there could find any remedy for him; but in a few days death 
evidently began to draw near. Father Francis Gonzaga 5 who 
was still General of his order, was at that time at Milan. 
When he learnt the state of the Marquis, he went late one 
evening to announce to him his approaching death. But Don 
Ferrante at once guessed what was the object of the Father s 
visit, and asked him to send whatever confessor of his order 
he pleased, as he wished to make his confession. The confessor 
was sent for and heard his confession that same evening. The 
following day the Father General of the Franciscans returned 
to remind him to make his will. 6 This he did; and when he 
had arranged all his affairs, he died on the 13 th of February, 
1 5 86. He had endeavoured to console his weeping family by 
telling them that they should be glad instead of grieving, be 
cause God had called him in such good dispositions. His body 
was transferred, by his own orders, to Mantua, and buried in 
the church of St. Francis. 

When St. Aloysius heard the circumstances of his father s 
death from the Father General Francis Gonzaga, and from his 
relatives at home , he was greatly comforted and returned thanks 
to God. 


Devotion of S. Aloysius to self-mortification, while he 
was a novice. 

i586 87. 

loysius used to say that he had learned this lesson 
from his father, that anyone who chooses a state, or 
undertakes any affair should endeavour to accomplish 
his work with the greatest possible perfection, and 
that as his father had carried out these principles in worldly 
matters, it was certainly his duty to follow them in the things of 
God. And in fact he showed how thoroughly he had made these 
maxims his own, for he always aimed with the greatest ardour at 
mortification, and at the acquisition of every virtue and perfection. 
To mention some things which were remarked in him with 
astonishment even at this time, he laid aside, in the first place, 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. in 

all thoughts of his relations, in such a manner that it appeared 
as though he had entirely forgotten them. When once he was 
asked how many brothers he had in the world, he could not 
answer until he had counted them over. Another time, when he 
was asked by one of the Fathers 7 if he was ever disturbed by 
the thought of his relatives, he replied that he was not, for he 
never thought of them except to recommend them in general 
to God; and by His grace, he was completely master of his 
thoughts, nor was he ever troubled by any against his will. He 
guarded his senses with so much diligence, that it may be said with 
truth that, though he had eyes and ears, he neither saw nor heard; 
and that, though his body remained here below, his mind dwelt 
in Heaven. He never indulged his sense of smell, nor touched 
any sweet-scented or perfumed object; and when he went to serve 
the sick in the hospitals, as he often used to do, he attached 
himself principally to the most revolting patients and tolerated 
their offensive odour without showing the least sign of disgust. 

Our Saint mortified his flesh by disciplines, hair shirts, fasts 
on bread and water, and other bodily sufferings and austerities. 
Although he performed a great number of these penances, he 
was not allowed as many as he wished, on account of his delicate 
constitution, and nothing grieved him more than not to be able 
to do as much as he desired. He said once in confidence to 
one of the Fathers that he practised no penances or mortifications 
at all in religion to be compared with what he had done in the 
world, but he consoled himself by the knowledge that the religious 
state is like a ship, in which not only those who labour at the 
oars, but also those who stand idle by obedience, speed on their 

On one vigil he asked leave of the Master of novices to fast 
on bread and water, which was granted him. Afterwards at 
table, his master perceived that he hardly eat anything, and to 
give him another mortification, he called him and ordered him 
to return immediately to the second table, and eat whatever was 
given him. He obeyed immediately, and did as he was commanded. 
When the second dinner was finished, some one who had noticed 
this, said, in order to tease him: "Well done, Brother Aloysius, 
yours is a good way of fasting, to eat a little at first, in order 
to return and eat a second time!" He replied, half smiling: 
"What can I do? As the Prophet says, Ut jumentum factus 

The Life of 


become as a 
before Thee." 

sum apud te ct ego tcciim semper. J am 
beast (of burden) before Thee: I am always 
( Ps. LXXII, 23.) 

He governed his sense of hearing by never listening to idle 
and useless talk; if it was possible he changed the conversation, 
or if the speakers were persons of consideration, he showed by 
his behaviour and by his silence that he did not listen willingly. 
He observed strict custody of the eyes even when in the world, 
as we have already seen; but it was still more marked in religion. 
The novices used to go occasionally during the year to a place 
in the country, a vineyard for recreation, and Aloysius had already 
been there several times with the others, when it happened by 
some chance that they were sent to another. After their return 
home he was asked which he liked the best, and he was quite 
astounded at the question, for until then he had thought that it 
was the vineyard he had usually visited, although both the road 
and the rooms and everything else were very different. After 
reflexion however, he remembered that he had found a chapel 
in the last one which he had never seen in the other. 

After taking his meals in the refectory of the novitiate for 
three months, he did not know in what order the tables were 
arranged; and when he was sent one day by the minister to 
fetch a book which he had left there in the rector s place, he 
was obliged to ask which seat it was. 

Another time, after he had been some months in the novitiate, 
he related to his Master of novices as a scruple which "troubled 
him very much, that accidentally and without willing it, he had 
two or three times allowed his eyes to wander and notice what 
his next neighbour was doing; which, he feared, was curiosity. 
And, what is more, he added that this was the first scruple with 
regard to looking about which had troubled him in the Society. 

S. Aloysius appeared to have completely lost the sense 
of taste, because he never perceived any in his food, or cared 
whether it were good or bad, pleasant or insipid. He always 
endeavoured to take the worst that he could, and while he was 
eating he kept his mind always occupied with some pious 
thoughts. Besides listening to the reading at table, at dinner 
he used to consider the vinegar which our Saviour w r as given 
to drink on the cross, and at supper, the Last Supper so full of 
mysteries, which our Lord eat with His disciples. 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. IE. 11? 

Above all, our Saint kept such a guard upon his tongue, 
that one who did not consider what evils arise from it, and how 
liable it is to err, would have thought him over scrupulous in 
the matter. He frequently used as an ejaculatOFy prayer that 
verse of the psalm: "Set a watch, o Lord, before my mouth, 

Francis Gonzaga, General of the Franciscans, afterwards Bishop of Mantua. 

After an oil painting in the "Canons Sacristy" in the Cathedral at Mantua. 

(See P. I, eh. 9, 10; P. II, ch. 2 and note 5. Appendix, ch. 2.) 

and a door round about my lips," (Ps. CXL, 3 ) and in convers 
ation, he used to say frequently: "If any man offend not in 
word, the same is a perfect man. He is able also with a bridle 
to lead about the whole body." (S. fames in, 2.) 

He was always better pleased to keep silence than to speak, 
and hence no words can convey how exactly he observed the 
rule of silence at home, and out of doors. He was sent out 

114 The Life of Chap. 

one day to walk in the country with a priest, and as he had 
heard it said that there was not always permission to speak when 
there was leave to go out, he took with him a spiritual book 
which he commenced reading directly he was out of the house; 
and he passed the time reading and meditating without ever 
saying a word to his companion, who admired the conduct of 
Aloysius and spent the time himself in meditation. 

The reason why our Saint had such a love of silence was 
partly because he feared to offend God by his words, and partly 
because the heavenly delights which his soul constantly enjoyed 
quite deprived him of all taste for conversation. AVhen he was 
obliged to speak, he was very measured in his words, and 
weighed almost every syllable. Members of the Society inform 
the porter of their destination when they go out, and as the 
novices in Rome are often sent to the Professed House to serve 
mass, or to hear a sermon or lecture on Sundays and festivals, 
Aloysius asked his superior if it was an idle word to say: "I 
am going to the Professed House" as it would suffice in order 
to be understood if he said: "I am going to the House." 

During the hour of conversation which follows the morning 
and evening meal, and is called recreation, S. Aloysius always 
talked of things relating to God; and sometimes if he began to 
say a thing, and it occurred to him suddenly that it would be 
better not to mention it, he cut his sentence short in the middle, 
without finishing it; and however much he was urged to continue, 
he would not do so, but remained silent for a while, and said 
not a word. 

He used to implore that the oldest and most worn out 
clothes of the house should be given to him; and once when 
the superior ordered him a new habit, he felt such dissatisfaction 
in putting this on, that the tailor and those who were present 
perceived it. When however he told his superior the mortification 
that he had experienced, he was answered that even a distaste 
of that kind might come from self-love, and from the desire of 
being well thought of and highly spoken of by others. These 
words caused him to search into his thoughts for many days, to 
see if he could discover what was the origin of his having been 
annoyed; but in spite of this examination, he could not find 
any fault therein. In fact, though at the beginning of his noviciate 
he had been troubled by some thoughts of self-complacency, 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 115 

he had by the grace of God, such a mastery over himself, that 
he was not conscious of having even once consented. However, 
to be more certain on this point, he directed all the meditations 
on the Passion of our Saviour which he made for some months, 
to the extirpation of every seed of self-complacency, and to the 
acquiring a holy hatred and contempt of himself. 

In mortifications that affected the sense of honour, he was 
the more solicitous as he considered that thev were far more 

The house of Donna Martha, mother of S. Aloysius, at Chieri 

near Turin. 
(See P. I, ch. 10.) 

necessary and helpful for reasonable persons, than bodily 
austerities. By constantly practising mortification of pride, he 
reached such a state that he no longer felt any repugnance to 
such mortification either at home or abroad. 

Aloysius often asked to be allowed to go through the city 
in ragged clothes with a wallet on his back, begging for alms. 
AVhen he was asked if this caused him any shame or repug 
nance, he replied that it did not, because he placed before him 
the imitation of Christ and the merit and reward that he thus 

n6 The Life of Chap. 

acquired, and this sufficed to make him do it willingly and joy 
fully. Arid in fact he did not see whence the mortification could 
arise, even humanly speaking, for, as he used to say: "Those 
who see me either know me or they do not. If they do not 
know me, I need not care for their opinion or feel humiliated. 
If they do know me, besides the edification I give, I lose nothing 
in their estimation, rather they hold me in higher consideration; 
and there is more fear of vain glory than of mortification, since 
to make oneself poor for the love of God, when one has 
been born rich, is considered worthy of honour even among 
worldlings." In the same way, when the Saint was sent on 
Sundays and festivals to teach Christian doctrine and to catechize 
the poor and the peasants in the public streets and squares of 
Rome, he did -it with such joy and charity, that all w r ho saw 
him were edified by it; and great prelates sometimes stopped 
their carriages to see and hear him. On one occasion among 
others, having found one who had been six years without con 
fession, he insisted so strongly, and spoke to him with such 
fervour, that he persuaded him to make his confession, and lee 1 
him at once to a Father at the Gesu. And this he did on several 

In one thing only did S. Aloysius admit that he felt some 
what mortified, and it was when he was publicly reprehended 
for his faults, either in the refectory or in the hall. This w-as 
not because of the low opinion that others might form of his 
virtue, for that had no effect on him, but only because ns 
defects themselves were so displeasing to him. Hence he askr.-; 
for nothing more frequently than for those public corrections 
and he said that he drew great profit from them. And although 
by means of the control which he had acquired over his imagin 
ation, he would easily have been able to divert his thoughts so 
as not to hear anything of the reprimand, this he never did, as 
he said, that he might not defraud holy obedience, and in order 
to gain greater merit. While he was being ih.u.*- publicly repre 
hended, he used to excite himself to jov by i.he thought tha,. 
he was suffering something which ga\v him ^ome resemblance 
to Jesus Christ; and very often, he gam- " . irom this consider 
ation the matter for a long meditation. 

The Master of novices saw hou exact Aloysius was in 
everything, and accordingly he wished once to try him in an 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 1 1 -j 

unexpected way. He made him therefore, for some days, com 
panion to the Brother who had care of the refectory, and gave 
him the duty of sweeping, cleaning and arranging it, and ordered 
the Brother Avho was in charge to be unreasonably exacting, 
and to reprehend him continually. But although he did exactly 
what he was commanded, he could never make our Saint either 
excuse or justify himself, so that he was filled with wonder at 
such humility and patience, and could hardly believe what he saw 
with his own eyes. Aloysius was one day visited in the noviciate 
by Monsignor Gonzaga, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who on 
leaving drew the Father rector aside, and asked him how his relative 
conducted himself. "My Lord," he replied, "the only thing I can 
tell you is that we have all much to learn from his example." 
In a word, from the very first month of his noviceship, he was 
so composed and modest in his external appearance, so severe 
in the treatment of his body, so given to mortification of his 
interior, especially in points of honour, so perfect in the ob 
servance of the least rules, so humble, so affable with others, 
so respectful towards superiors, and obedient to their commands, 
so devout to God, so detached in affection from everything of 
the world, so inflamed with charity and perfect in every virtue, 
that the novices all declared him to be a Saint. They kissed 
devoutly the things he had touched and used, and treated him 
with the greatest veneration. Others again, who were not novices, 
strove to get things that he had used, regarding them as holy 
relics. His copy of the Office of Our Lady which he had used 
in the world was taken by me at that time. It had already 
passed through the hands of two others, and I wished to keep 
it through devotion. It is still kept in Sicily. A Father who 
is a preacher kept as a relic the breviary which he used as a 
layman, and thus it was regarded by others also, so quickly 
were his sanctity and perfection recognized. 

Saint Aloysius. 


The Life of 


S. Aloysius at the Professed House in Rome. 


fter the novices of the Society in Rome have been 
some months at the noviciate of S. Andrea, and 
have been somewhat formed to religious discipline, 
so that it is no longer quite new to them, it is usual 
tcTsend them for some weeks or months to the Professed House, 
called the Gesu, where they have quarters separate from the 
others, and are occupied in serving mass, reading at table, and 
other offices like those which they perform in the noviceship. 
And besides one of themselves named Prefect, to whom the 
superior gives the charge of distributing to each one his duties, 
and of superintending the observance of the time table, an ex 
perienced and spiritual Father has the care of hearing their con 
fessions, of directing them, and takes in their regard the office 
of Master of novices. 

Aloysius had already been about three months in the 
noviciate, when he received an order from the Rector of the 
Noviciate to go to the Professed House. He was very delighted 
at this command for two reasons, both of which were spirit 
ual ones. The first was because he hoped to be able thus to 
profit by the example of the old Fathers dwelling there, who, 
having passed their lives in the various offices and employments 
of religious life, were now occupied either in the administration 
of the church or house, or in assisting the General in the govern 
ment of the whole Society. They are thus able to be a rule 
of religious life to others. His second reason was his great 
devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, which had led him to delight 
in serving mass even when he was still in his father s house, and 
he was greatly gratified by having this duty specially laid upon 
him. This devotion of his towards the Divine Sacrament of the 
altar was so well known to all .who were acquainted with him, 
that when some persons in Rome were having his portrait painted, 
they thought of depicting him in the act of adoration before 
the Sacred Host. The attraction arose from the strong delights 

Iv - S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. II() 

and feelings of fervour which he experienced in Holy Com 
munion, and which were not to be wondered at, considering 
his purity of soul, and the diligence with which he prepared 
himself. He made use of one Communion to make himself ready 
for another, and besides various other devotions he had divided 
the whole week in such a manner that he assigned Monday, 
Tuesday and Wednesday to the three persons of the Blessed 
Trinity, to thank each one in particular for the benefits he had 
received in being admitted to Holy Communion; while the three 
following days, Thursday, Fnday and Saturday, he offered up 
to them in the same manner to implore the grace of approachino- 
worthily to the Holy Table on the following Sunday. 

Every day, at certain fixed hours, he went for a little while 
to pray in the tribune of the church, and visit the Blessed Sacra 
ment; and the day before Communion, all his conversation was 
about this holy Mystery. These discourses were so full of devotion 
and fen-our, that even some priests, who had observed it, con 
trived to pass the hour of recreation on Saturday with him, in 
order to hear him converse on this subject; and they said after 
wards that they never celebrated Mass with greater devotion 
than ^on the Sundays, so greatly were they moved and inflamed 
by his Avords. And this was so well known that any who desired 
to go to Communion or say Mass with special fervour during the 
course of the week, endeavoured to get with him on the pre 
ceding day, and ingeniously to turn the conversation to that 

On Saturday evening he went to bed with these thoughts, 
and he aroused them again on first waking in the morning; he 
then made an hour s meditation on Holy Communion, and 
afterwards went to church with the others to hear Mass, during 
which he remained motionless, all the time on his knees. After 
Communion he retired into a corner, and for some time he 
appeared as though abstracted from his senses; and when he 
had finished his thanksgiving, he seemed to have a difficulty in 
rising and leaving the church, his heart and soul were so over 
flowing with heavenly sweetness and loving sentiments. He passed 
the rest of the morning in holy silence, alternately praying and 
meditating, or reading some devout passages of S. Auo-ustine 
or S. Bernard. 

The Life of Chap. 


Testimony of F. Jerome Piatti with regard to S. Aloysius. 


)jji/amt Aloysius had been delighted to go to the Pro 
fessed House for the motives just recorded. There 
he found F. Jerome Piatti (Platus) in charge of the 
novices. This Father was very holy and spiritual, 
and thoroughly conversant with religious perfection, as may 
be seen by his printed works, and by other writings which he 
has left on this subject. On account of his death which occurred 
very suddenly they were not completed, and have thus not 
been published, to the great loss of religious persons. Of these 
he had already composed two books and a half before his death, 
in which he explains with wonderful clearness the manner of 
detaching our affections from the world; of mortifying and correct 
ing the body; of curbing and regulating the passions of the 
soul; of extirpating vices and evil habits; of acquiring all the 
virtues necessary for a religious; of dealing with our neighbour, 
and of uniting ourselves to God by perfect charity. This devout 
and prudent Father rejoiced greatly at seeing Aloysius placed 
under his care, for he had formed a very high opinion of him 
from the first days that he had known him, as may be gathered 
from a letter written in his own hand to Father Mutius Vitelleschi 
who was then a young man finishing his theological studies at 
Naples, whither he had been sent for his health. In this letter 
he informs him of many things regarding the vocation of Aloy 
sius, which I will here give in full, although they have already 
been mentioned in part, in order that they may be confirmed 
by the authority of so holy a Father. He writes as follows: 

"Dearest Brother in Christ, 
Pax Christi. 

I cannot make a better reply or one more pleasing to you 
in return for a letter which I have just received from you, my 

V. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 121 

dearest Vitelleschi, than by giving you an account of a dis 
tinguished novice who entered S. Andrea five days ago, on the 
feast of S. Catherine. He is a youth, by name Aloysius Gonzaga, 
son of a Marquis whose estate borders on the duchy of Mantua, 
and a near relation of the duke of that place, and, being the 
eldest son, he would have succeeded to the marquisate. But 
God was pleased to choose him for Himself, and about two 
years ago, when he was at the Court of king Philip of Spain, 
he resolved to join the Society. As his father was also at the 
Court, he openly declared to him his intention, and after sub 
mitting him to many trials, the Marquis at last consented. He 
returned shortly after from Spain, and wrote to his relative, 
Scipio Gonzaga, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to speak to our 
Father General, and offer his son in his name. But as Aloysius 
was, as I have already said, the eldest son, with the right of suc 
cession, it was necessary for him to transfer his rights to another 
brother. This affair occupied several months, for it was necessary 
to obtain the consent of the Emperor. Finally however this business 
was settled, but when the good youth thought to enter at once 
into port, he was detained for some time by his father, who still 
made difficulties about the final permission, and wished to keep 
him for many years longer, either on account of the love he 
bore him, or because, as he wrote to Father General, he 
thought him still too young for such a step. And in this we can 
see how great were the constancy and fervour of the young man, 
for although he had an extreme reverence for his father, he 
never ceased importuning him, and trying all possible means to 
obtain his consent. When he saw that his father was still un 
moved, he wrote ardent letters to the General, imploring him to 
be allowed to depart without saying a word to the Marquis, 
This however the General would not allow. The affair thus 
dragged on till now, when, in what manner I know not, he finally 
obtained the necessary permission, and arrived in Rome in the 
dress of a priest, with some ten horses in his train. His coming 
was so widely known, that wherever he passed people were 
aware that he was on his way to enter into the Society. The 
same was the case also in Rome, where he lodged a few days 
in the house of the Patriarch, Scipio Gonzaga. 

His intention got abroad in the Pope s palace, and when 
he went to the Holy Father to ask a blessing on his design, he 

122 The Life of Chap. 

was surrounded by the courtiers who, as they entertained very 
different ideas and plans themselves, regarded him as a miracle. 
Finally on Monday, the feast of St. Catherine, he went to S. 
Andrea, accompanied by the Patriarch, who stayed to dinner 
with Father General. 

His abilities are such that his rank is his least distinction; 
for although he is not yet eighteen years old, and has spent so 
much time in Court, he is already well grounded in both logic 
and natural science. His prudence and his discretion of speech 
are such as to astonish us all; and it will be a sufficient proof 
of this to tell you that his father already made use of him in 
many ways at home; and in a letter by which he presented him 
to Father General, said that he was his dearest hope. But 
all this is nothing compared to his virtue and sanctity; for from 
the age of about eight years he himself confesses he began to 
fear God; and this is clearly proved by the devotion he has, 
for during prayer he is constantly in tears, and he observes an 
almost constant recollection, as may be perceived by his face 
and manner of acting. His servants say that he used to meditate 
every day for four or five hours, besides what he did at night 
which they could not know, because for a long time of late, he 
would not allow any one to undress him, but shut himself up 
in his room, and attended to his devotions, without other re 
straint than his own fervour. And that you may not think that 
I am exaggerating these things, I merely tell you that Father 
Andrew Spinola, when talking with him, was so drawn to him, 
and so much admired his gifts, that when he spoke with me 
on the subject, he told me that I praised him very coldly, 
although you see in what manner I speak of him. 

And the General and all our Fathers in Rome as well as 
in Milan and Mantua, where he stayed for a time, all have the 
same opinion of him. 

I do not know if I ought to mention what follows, lest it 
should diminish your joy, as it has diminished ours; however I 
will tell you all, to urge you to pray for him. You must know 
then, that, of gifts of nature and grace, the only one that is 
wanting to Aloysius is health; for he is so delicate that only to 
look on him fills one with fear; and already, a day or two 
before he entered, he began to feel a pain in his chest. This, 
which proves his fervour, he ascribes to the fact that after as 

V. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 123 

usual making his Friday fast on bread and water, he went the 
following day to pay his respects to the Holy Father and was 

S. Aloysius, surprised whilst praying, by his uncle Hercules di Tana and 
his wife in the castle at Chieri. 

After the painting on glass by Noel Lavergne in the Chapel of the Petit -Seminaire 

at Versailles. 
(See P. I, ch. 10.) 

obliged to wait fasting until near the evening, and this was why 
he was so exhausted. However this may be, it is certain that, if 
he can be cured by great care, he will be tended with all 

124 The Life of Chap. 

possible solicitude and prudence, for so Father General has 
commanded, and this is being already done. And perhaps he 
will have a better chance under the wise care of the Superiors 
of the Society, than when left without check to the guidance and 
impulse of his own fervour. So pray for him and be sure that, 
if God gives him life and health, you will see him do great things 
for the service of God and the Society. 

I wished to relate these things at length, although I have 
omitted much that would edify, in order to give you a share in 
the joy which has been the one subject of our conversation 
during the past days, but I ask you, in return, to repay me for 
the consolation that I have given you, by praying that I may 
have the grace to be a true Brother and follower of those exalted 
souls that God calls every day to our holy Society. May God s 
blessing be with you. 

Rome, Nov. 29 th , i585. 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ, 
Jerome Piatti." 

The Father who wrote this letter was not as yet intimately 
acquainted with Aloysius, and still we see how highly he spoke 
of him. 

Afterwards when he became his confessor, and began to 
talk to him about holy things, he obtained from him a minute 
account of all those particulars which he recorded, as has been 
said in the introduction. It was then that he perceived in this 
youth such innocence, such light in spiritual matters and so lofty 
a perfection, that for ever aftenvards he regarded him as a great 
saint and always spoke of him as such. One day as he was 
speaking of heaven with a Father, and saying how the saints are 
so transformed by the knowledge and sight of the Divine Will, 
that they love and desire nothing but what God wills, he added 
these words: "I perceive a clear example of this with regard 
to our Brother Aloysius. For as the Saints in Paradise see 
how greatly God delights in his soul, their wills become like to 
God s will, and they are wholly engaged in advancing him with 
heavenly gifts and graces, in doing favours and praying for him. 
It seems to me that so favoured is he by God and by them, 
and so full of supernatural virtues and graces, that they vie with 
each other as to who can do the most for him." 

St. Aloysius room in the Jesuit College in Rome, now converted into a chapel. 
The Saint occupied it for two years. (See Part II, c. n.) 

V. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. I2 5 

Father Piatti when passing through Sienna, was lauding 
the heroic virtues of this youth, and he said to F. Antony 
Francis Guelfucci that he was astonished, when he learnt how 
resplendent was the sanctity of S. Aloysius, that he did not work 

Jesuit College of the Brera, Milan, 

now the Brera Gallery. 
(See P. I, ch. 12, 13, 14. P. II, ch. 22, 23, 24.) 

miracles during his lifetime; and I remember hearing the same 
thing said by Cardinal Bellarmine, that he marvelled that, with 
his extraordinary sanctity, he did not perform miracles that were 
known to all. 

I2 6 The Life of Chap. 

The conduct of S. Aloysius at the Gesu. 


int Aloysius remained in this house longer than 
was customary with the other novices. Every 
morning, after finishing his hour of meditation, 
he went to the sacristy and did not leave until he 
had served five or six masses with the greatest devotion and 
spiritual fervour; and yet he was so compassionate towards 
his Brother-novices, and especially towards two whom he con 
sidered delicate, that he used to warn the superior that they 
did not take care of their health, and served too many masses. 
During the time he spent in the sacristy between one mass 
and another, he observed strict silence without uttering a 
word. He stayed in a corner meditating, saying the office 
of our Lady, or reading some spiritual books. When it was 
necessary to tell anything to the sacristan, or to ask him a 
question, he went to him with his biretta in his hands, which 
were joined on his breast, and spoke to him with so much 
reverence and submission, that the sacristan himself was quite 
confused. Our Saint obeyed his orders and those of his com 
panions with as much promptness and perfection as though the 
commands came from Christ Himself. 

AVhen the sacristan once ordered him, on Maundy Thurs 
day to remain at the Sepulchre, and see to the lights, he stayed 
there for some hours, without ever raising his eyes to admire 
the arrangements and decorations, which were very beautiful; 
and when he was asked afterwards, by one of his companions, 
if he liked it, he replied that he had not seen it, because he 
did not think that he ought to look, when the sacristan had 
given him another duty. 

He had also so much reverence and respect for the novice 
who had some slight authority over the others, that he could 
not have had greater for the General himself. Whenever he 
saw him pass, he rose, uncovered himself, and paid him every 
sort of honour; so much that the novice complained to the 

VI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 127 

Superior, who ordered Aloysius to be more moderate, as he 
afterwards was. Nor is it to be wondered at that he had such 
reverence for his superiors and obeyed their commands with 
such promptness, for he never regarded them as men, but as 
holding the place of God; and the voice of him who com 
manded was to him not the voice of man, but the voice of 
Christ himself. He cherished these sentiments not for the 
greater merit of his obedience, but because he felt a certain 

Church of Santa Maria di San Celso at Milan, 

which S. Aloysius often visited. 
(See P. I, ch. 12.) 

sweetness in thinking that Our Lord was commanding him, and 
that he had the occasion of doing something for the service 
of God. He used to say that he obeyed secondary and sub 
ordinate superiors with more delight than those that were real 
superiors of the first rank. And this, he said, was not from 
humility, but from a certain pride; for, from a human point of 
view, it would be difficult to induce one man to obey another, 
especially if he were his inferior in knowledge, nobility or other 

I2 8 The Life of Chap. 

gifts and talents; but to submit oneself to God, or to anyone 
in His place, was a thing so much the more glorious as the man 
himself was the less honourable. 

After the morning is past, and the masses finished, the 
novices at the Professed House go to read, some at the first 
and some at the second table, while others serve by turns in 
the kitchen. When it came to be S. Aloysius turn to serve, 
he applied himself to these lowly offices, with as much delight 
as though they had been his natural lot. 

AVhen he had to read at table he did so slowly and 
exactly. It happened once that when he was reading, some 
noise near the - refectory prevented him from being heard. The 
novice, who was superintending, took occasion from this to 
reprehend him, as if it were his fault that the Fathers and 
Brothers had lost the reading at table; and he made a great 
deal of the spiritual loss which they suffered in consequence. 
He did this in order to see what answer Aloysius would make. 
Our Saint made no excuse whatsoever, but promised to do 
better for the future, and deliberately began over again what 
he had read, in order to make up for the spiritual loss of the 

When Father Jerome Piatti saw that he was so intent on 
prayer and meditation, in order to distract him he ordered him 
to remain morning and evening at recreation with those that had 
been at the second table, although he himself had been at the 
first; and he obeyed. The Minister, who knew nothing of this 
command, gave him a public penance in the refectory, and 
obliged him to tell his fault for breaking the rule, which orders 
that out of the hour of recreation assigned to all, silence is to 
be kept. Aloysius .performed the penance imposed on him, 
without excusing himself, or making known the order he had 
received. But directly afterwards he continued to stay at the 
second recreation as before. The Minister, perceiving this 
again, was astonished and gave him a second time the same 
penance as before, and the Saint accepted it without a word. 
After dinner Father Piatti sent for him and told him that 
he had given scandal, as a novice, for having done two con 
secutive penances for the same fault, and asked him why 
he did not tell the Father Minister of the permission which had 
been given to him. 

VI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 129 

Aloysius replied that it had occurred to him that he might 
give scandal by his silence; but he feared that if he excused 
himself by telling the permission he had received, he might 
be yielding to some suggestion of self-love which urged him to 
escape the mortification. Therefore he had determined to be 
silent and do the penance a second time, but if the Minister 
spoke to him a third time, then he would, let him know the 
order he had received and so avoid further scandal. 

It was a matter of great edification to see the patience 
and promptness with which he accepted the penances imposed 
upon him, and the joy with which he performed them, even 
though there had been no fault or negligence in the action for 
which he was punished; as indeed fault or negligence were 
things which were rarely if ever found in him. And very 
often when the failings of others were, attributed to him, he 
would do the penance as though the fault had been his own. 
This came to be known, because those who were really guilty, 
on seeing him do penance, came forward to acknowledge 
their faults and thus rival him in humility. 

During the day he used to accompany some of the Fathers 
who visited the prisons or the hospitals, as is the custom of 
the confessors of the Gesu to do several times during the week. 
While the Fathers were hearing the confessions of the prisoners 
and the sick, he catechised and prepared others for the Sacra 
ments. When he was in the house he occupied himself in 
sweeping and in other humble offices. 

Once, when he was with the other novices in the linen- 
room, folding the linen, he suddenly remembered that he had 
not read any of Saint Bernard that day as he usually did; 
and he was inclined to go away and finish his devotions, which 
he might have done like the other novices, after he had worked 
some time. But this he would not do, and he answered him 
self in this manner: "If you read Saint Bernard, what else 
would he teach you, save to obey? Imagine then that you have 
read him, and follow what he tells you." 

He was such an observer of the rules that he would not 
transgress the least one, out of respect for any person whatsoever, 
and when it happened one day that Cardinal Rovere, his re 
lation, came into the sacristy to speak to him, he refused to 
do so until he had asked permission of Father General; and 

130 The Life of Chap. 

this to the Cardinal s great edification. In a word, in every 
thing he showed himself so perfect and gave such good example 
and edification, that all in the house regarded him with great 
affection, and spoke of him as a Saint. 

After remaining some two months at the Gesu he was 
recalled to S. Andrea. 


The perfection with which he performed the rest of his 


rhen S. Aloysius returned to the noviciate of S. Andrea, 
full of edification at the virtuous example he had 
received in the Professed House, he went first of all 
to give an account to his Master of novices of every 
thing that had taken place in his soul during the time that he had 
been absent. He then continued, with more fervour and dili 
gence than ever to perform the usual exercises of the noviciate 
and this he did with such care and perfection, that not only 
no one could ever perceive in him the least defect, but even he 
who so constantly watched himself and made such a careful 
dissection of his thoughts and of his actions , could find nothing 
to blame in them. This came to be known in the following 

One day he went to the Master of novices, to ask him 
about a difficulty which greatly troubled him; however carefully 
he examined himself, he could never discover anything that 
amounted to a venial sin, and he feared that this must be be 
cause he did not know himself, and had fallen into that spi 
ritual darkness of which he had heard and read, and which 
places the soul in great danger. We may gather from this how 
great was the purity of his heart. Nor is it any wonder that he 
kept his conscience thus pure and unsullied, since he had special 
graces to enable him to do so. For, in the first place, he had 
worked so hard from childhood to mortify his passions, and 
had acquired such a habit thereof, that it appeared as though 

VII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 131 

he had reached a state of complete insensibility towards all 
earthly objects. Hence many who were acquainted with him in 
religious life, have deposed solemnly that, not only did they 
never see him commit a venial sin, but that they never even 
perceived in him the least sign of anger, impatience, or any 
other movement of passion. This insensibility was all the more 
remarkable that it did not arise from dullness of nature, for 
he was, on the contrary, young and ardent, and quick-witted 

Miraculous Picture, under the Altar of Our Lady of San Celso 
at Milan, 

before which S. Aloysius frequently prayed. 
(See P. I, ch. 12.) 

beyond his years; but from a special grace of God, and from 
the virtuous habits he had acquired by means of constant 

In the second place he never allowed himself to be guided 
by those impulses that often carry men beyond the bounds of 
reason; but he always followed the light of reason and ex 
perience. He used to say that those who are governed by im 
pulse, fall into frequent errors. He never tried to get the better 

132 The Life of Chap. 

of another in argument during recreation, but simply said what 
he thought; nor did he continue to dispute if he were contra 
dicted. Perhaps for the sake of truth he might answer in a 
pleasant way, but without being in the least put out. If however 
the other insisted, he simply said no more, just as if the question 
was one that had nothing to do with him. 

In the third place he drove away all desires that could 
trouble the peace and quiet of his heart by causing him too 
great solicitude; not only if they were indifferent, but even if 
they were good and holy. In consequence of this he enjoyed 
a tranquillity of soul which had become almost natural to him. 
But that which was of the greatest help to our Saint was, that 
he not only kept before him the continual memory of the presence 
of God in all his actions , and for this motive sought to perform 
them with the greatest possible perfection; but that further, he 
united himself continually to God by means of prayer , to which 
he gave as much pains as though the acquirement of perfection 
consisted in that alone. He used to say that he who is not a 
man of prayer and recollection can never reach eminent sanctity 
and perfection, or obtain a complete victory over self; and he 
considered that all the restlessness, discontent, and immortifi- 
cation which trouble some religious persons arise from the lack 
of prayer and meditation. He used to call prayer the quickest 
route and the short cut to perfection, which those w r ho had 
once known would never wish to quit. He was surprised and 
grieved at some persons, who if now and again, under stress 
of necessity, they have not the time to make their ordinary 
meditation, little by little give up the practice of prayer, so that 
they neglect it even when they have the time and opportunity. 

VIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. i-?? 

S. Aloysius remarkable gift of prayer. 

aint Aloysius was so given to the practice of prayer 
that he found his greatest happiness was during the 
time assigned for it; and he collected from his own 
experience such very beautiful maxims on meditation, 
that while Cardinal Bellarmine was giving the Spiritual Exercises 
to some Scholastics of the Society in the Roman College, when 
suggesting admirable hints as to how to make their meditations, 
he used to say: "I learned that from our Aloysius." He pre 
pared his meditation with great diligence, and spent the eighth 
part of an hour, if not more, in forecasting and arranging 
it before going to bed. In the morning he took care to be 
ready in good time before the signal was given to commence, 
and he spent that interval in calling in his thoughts, and he 
sought to preserve his soul in peace and free from all cares and 
desires. He said that it was impossible for anyone who was 
overanxious or wishful about something else, to remain so 
attentive to what he is meditating, as to receive in his soul 
the image of God, into which it strives to transform itself by 
meditation. I remember hearing him explain this thought by 
means of the following example. As a lake which is agitated 
by the wind, cannot reflect the figure of a man who stands be 
fore it, or represents him as if he were disjointed and cut in 
pieces, so the soul that is buffeted by the contrary winds of 
passion or agitated by desires, is not in a proper state to receive 
the image of God in itself, and cannot be transformed into the 
likeness of the Divinity Whom it is contemplating. 

When the signal was given , he placed himself on his knees 
at his simple prie-dieu and made every endeavour to keep his 
attention fixed. He would not even move for fear of disturbing 
himself. He penetrated himself with the subject of his meditation, 
and so great was the strain of his mind that the vital force 
which worked with his mind so exhausted his frame, that at the 
end of the time his limbs were too weak for him to rise. Often 
did it happen to him that for some time after prayer, he 

Saint Aloysius. 1 1 

I34 The Life of Chap. 

remained so completely out of himself that he did not know 
where he was, nor did he recognize the place in which he was 
standing. This occurred specially when he had been me 
ditating on the Divine attributes, the goodness, the provi 
dence, the love of God toward men, and most particularly 
when he considered them as infinite. The Saint had such a 
gift of tears and generally wept so abundantly that the Su 
periors were obliged to consider some plan and means to mo 
derate this, for fear that the excessive weeping would inflict 
too great injury on his eyes and head. But no remedy was of 
any avail. AVhat is still more marvellous is that he usually had 
no distractions whatsoever in his prayers, as is witnessed to 
by his confessors, and particularly by Cardinal Bellarmine. 
Every one may judge from himself what a singular gift from 
God this was. S. Aloysius had acquired this power of attention, 
not only by the grace of God, but by his constant practice of 
meditation, which had rendered his intellect and imagination so 
obedient, that no thought ever came to him but that which he 
wished; and in that one he so concentrated himself that he never 
noticed what others were saying or doing, nor was there any 
fear of his being distracted. During all the six years that he 
passed in religious life he never observed that he was visited 
during meditation, although it is the custom to do so every 
morning in the noviciate, and very frequently in the colleges, 
to see that all are making their meditation at the fixed time. 
One can gather from this how absorbed and intent he was on 
his meditation. All those of the Society are obliged, at the 
beginning of the noviciate, and afterwards every six months 
during the rest of their lives, to give an account of their con 
sciences to their superior; and to manifest not only their defects, 
but also all the graces and virtues that they have received from 
God. This is done in order that their superior may be clearly 
informed, and may, with his fatherly prudence, moderate any 
excesses and defend them against the snares which occur in the 
spiritual life, and thus direct his subjects to their greater per 
fection. In this manner they became acquainted with the many 
virtues of Aloysius , who , in order to observe the rule , and ob 
tain the benefit of guidance, exposed with great directness and 
sincerity, to his superiors and spiritual advisers, all that God 
was doing in his soul. This it is well to note, so as not to be 

VIII. . S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 135 

surprised at his having done so , he only made known his virtues 
because he was bound to do so by obedience; for otherwise he 
never spoke of himself. 

When giving an account of his conscience, he was asked 
by his superior if he suffered from distractions in prayer. He can 
didly answered that if all the distractions he had had during the 
past six months in his meditations, prayers, and examens were 

The Church of San Fedele in Milan, 

once a Jesuit Church, in which S. Aloysius used to receive Holy Communion during 
his stay in that city. 
(See P. I, ch. 12.) 

put together they would not occupy the time it takes to say 
one Hail Mary. In vocal prayers he had more difficulty, not that 
his mind was distracted in them: but because he could not so 
quickly and easily understand the meaning of the psalms, or 
other prayers he was reciting. It seemed to him he was like a 
person standing before a door which is shut or nearly shut, 
so that you can neither go in nor go out. But even in vocal 
prayers he had great spiritual sweetness and devotion. His soul 

I3 6 The Life of Chap, 

poured itself forth in the affections with which they abound. 
These affections were sometimes so vehement that he could not 
without great effort pronounce a word : and on this account, as he 
was in the habit during his noviciate of saying the Divine Office 
through devotion , he occupied at least an hour in saying Matins. 
He had great fervour in choosing the subject of his Meditations, 
and our Lord gave him extraordinary sentiments of piety and 
affections when he meditated on the Sacred Passion, which he 
used to recall to mind at midday by reciting a short antiphon 
and placing himself before Jesus Crucified. So great was his 
interior recollection and devotion in this, that, as he said, he 
pictured to himself most vividly at that moment the sacred 
hour of Good Friday. We have already spoken of his devotion 
in meditating on the Blessed Sacrament. 

He was specially devout to the holy Angels and in particular 
to his Angel Guardian. He loved to meditate on them, and re 
ceived from God many devout thoughts regarding them, as we see 
in his long and beautiful Meditation on the Angels. This we 
find in the second part of the Meditations of Father Vincent 
Bruno 8 , and it is quoted with praise by Dr. Andrew Vittorelli 9 
in his learned book: "De custodia Angelorum" It is entirely 
composed by S. Aloysius. Father Vincent caused him to 
write it, because he knew of his devotion to the holy Angels 
and wished his thoughts about them to be put down in writing, 
as that Father tells us. A note on the Holy Angels, in S. 
Aloysius writing was recently found among other papers. It 
runs as follows: 

"Devotion to the Angels. 

Imagine yourself standing before the nine choirs of Angels 
who are praying to God and singing Sanctus Deus, Sanctus 
Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis, and repeat this prayer 
nine times in union with them. 

Recommend yourself to your Angel Guardian three times 
a day; in the morning by the prayer "Angele Dei", in the 
evening by the same prayer, and during the day when you visit 
the Altars in Churches. Remember that you are to be guided 
by your Angel like a blind man, who cannot see the dangers 
of the streets , and trusts entirely to the person who leads him." 
It may with truth be said, that his religious life was a con 
tinual prayer, for by accustoming himself for so many years to 

VIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 137 

pray, and withdraw his mind from visible things, he had acquired 
so strong a habit, that wherever he was and whatever he might 
be doing , he was always more intent on interior than on exterior 
things. To so great a height had he attained, and so completely 
was he engrossed by interior things, that he scarcely made use 
of his senses , his eyes or ears for instance, and in prayer alone 
he found rest and delight. And if even for any cause however 
useful he was prevented from doing this, though he did what 
was required, he felt nevertheless a certain interior pain, as if 
one of his limbs had been dislocated. Nothing could give him 
greater happiness, than to spend the whole day united to God, 

P. Achilles Gagliardi, S. J. 

after an oil painting in the Gregorian University at Rome. 
(See P. I, ch. 13, note 42. P. II, ch. 23, note 21.) 

even in outward occupations, during which he easily kept up his 
recollection and interior attention, and indeed it would have 
been difficult for him to distract himself. Once he himself told 
me that the same difficulty which others often experience in 
keeping their minds recollected in God was felt by him in trying 
to distract it from God, for when he tried not to think of God, 
he suffered great violence and was obliged to struggle with 

And from this violence his body suffered greater injury, 
than from his continual attention to God. During the day and 
in the midst of his occupations God bestowed on him great 
consolations, which were not merely passing, but continued 

138 The Life of Chap. 

sometimes for an hour or more , and they so filled his soul that 
their influence extended to his whole frame which seemed all on 
fire with heavenly ardour, and the bright colour of his face 
showed the heat that consumed him within. Sometimes his heart 
became so inflamed with this divine fire, that through its con 
stant and violent palpitations it seemed as if it would burst forth 
from his breast. Through the great consolations he enjoyed 
in his soul, he so neglected the care of his body that it grew 
daily thinner and weaker, and the pain in his head increased 
instead of diminishing." His superiors, judging it impossible that 
he could live long with so intense an application of the mind, 
especially as his constitution was weakened by his penances, 
forbade him to fast, to abstain, or use disciplines and other pe 
nances, and began to give him more time for sleep and to diminish 
that of prayer. This they abridged first by half an hour, and 
then took it away altogether, prohibiting excepting very rarely 
even ejaculatory prayers, which he used to make so very often. 
He was told, that the less prayer he made, the more com 
pletely he fulfilled the precept of obedience. Manual occu 
pations were allotted him to distract his mind and that he might 
not have time for his devotions , and his superiors tried to con 
vince him , that he was bound for the glory of God to preserve 
his health. In this they had no difficulty , as is clearly manifested 
on this occasion. A Father had given him hopes of obtaining 
from the Father General leave for one hour s mental prayer 
daily , which had been forbidden by his Master of novices. But 
as he felt too great a wish for this leave , and feared some trouble 
in case of a refusal, which he thought would be contrary to in 
difference and to obedience he made great efforts to subdue 
this inclination and regain his usual indifference. What troubled 
him was that he did not know how to obey the will of his 
superiors in this matter, for though he tried to turn away his 
mind from heavenly things, he found himself again little by 
little immersed and absorbed in them, and as a stone is at 
tracted by gravitation, it seemed to him that his soul was 
united naturally to God, and when withdrawn with violence, 
returned to Him of itself. One day, pained at not being able to 
do what his superiors wished, he said in confidence to a fellow 
novice, Gaspar Alpieri : 10 "Really I am at a loss what to do. 
My Rector forbids me to pray, because the attention it requires 

IX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 139 

injures my head, and I have to do much greater violence to 
myself to distract my mind from God, than to keep it in re 
collection, because by habit this has become to me a second 
nature, and I feel rest and peace in it, and no difficulty at all. 
But I will try to do what I am commanded as best I can." 

As S. Aloysius was not allowed to pray, he went often to 
adore the B. Sacrament to supply for it, but scarcely had he 
knelt down, than he rose and hurried off for fear lest some 
thought should completely absorb his senses. These efforts did 
not however avail him much, for the more he hastened away 
to comply with obedience, the more God seemed to follow him, 
and communicate Himself to him. Often during the day his 
soul was filled with heavenly lights and consolations, and not 
wishing to dwell upon them, that he might not disobey orders, 
he would humbly say to God: "Depart from me, o Lord, depart 
from me;" and he would endeavour to distract himself. He 
had also great difficulty in making use of his exterior senses; 
for when he was interiorly absorbed in God, he seemed unable 
to see or hear anything. In this holiness and perfection he 
spe-nt the whole time of his noviciate at S. Andrea, 11 until 
the end of October iS86. He was an object of admiration to 
the superiors who directed his soul, and of great benefit and 
edification to his fellow-novices , who vied with one another in 
seeking his company, in order to profit by his words and 


The great holiness of his Master of Novices. Aloysius 

endeavours to imitate his virtue. He goes with him to 

Naples, where he remains several months. 

i566 67. 

uring the time that S. Aloysius made his Noviciate at 
Rome in S. Andrea on Montecavallo , the Rector 
and Master of novices was Father John Baptist 
Pescatore, a man of wonderful sanctity and perfection. 
His great virtues are attested by many of his disciples and spi 
ritual children, who glory in having had such a man as master 
and spiritual guide. This saintly father treated his body very 


The Life of 


severely, afflicting it with frequent fasts and abstinence, with hair- 
shirts, disciplines, and long watchings. These things he did as 
secretly as possible, but he could not altogether hide them from 
the knowledge of his disciples, who kept their eyes upon him 
to notice and imitate them. Whether he was sitting, walking, or 
standing his whole exterior was a perfect portrait of modesty: 
his face beamed with a joyous serenity, which he communicated 
to those who beheld him. Never was he seen to change coun 
tenance in any circumstances, nor to lose his tranquillity, to be 
come melancholy, or break out into unrestrained gaiety. He 
was always the same, showing that his passions were under 
control and that he possessed an imperturbable interior peace 
and calmness: nor was there ever seen in him the least sign of 
impatience or anger. He had the lowest opinion of himself and 
all his actions manifested his profound humility. 

He was very much given to prayer both by night and day, 
and we may in some degree understand the greatness of the 
gift God had granted to him, by the fact that one night, when 
the others were gone to rest, he was found praying in the centre 
of the public room of the Noviceship, now the Infirmary, raised 
in the air some feet above the ground, as was told me by Father 
Bartholomew Ricci who succeeded him in his office. It is re 
lated also in the Annals of the Society for i 5 9 1 ; in which, speak 
ing of the College at Naples, Father Francis Bencio enumerates 
his various virtues. He was a strict observer of the Rules of 
S. Basil for religious, and had a great affection for the Col 
lations of the Abbot Cassian, which he almost knew by heart. 
He endeavoured to practise with minuteness whatever was taught 
and practised by these ancient holy Fathers. In speech he was 
most sparing and discreet, nor did he ever say what could give 
offence, or fail to give edification. His conversation was most 
agreeable, and occasionally he enlivened it with witty and pleas 
ant sayings in harmony with religious modesty, which made 
him liked by all. To poor beggars, and especially the bashful, 
he was so compassionate that he is said to have taken off some 
of his own clothes to cover them. In his government severity 
was tempered by great amiability and he knew how to combine 
gravity with affability and humility, and to be agreeable to all. 

Father Pescatore showed great charity towards all, par 
ticularly the novices, whom he watched over as if he had been 

IX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 141 

father, mother, and nurse to each individually. He bore with 
their imperfections patiently until by degrees he formed them 
to what he desired. Nor did he show any bitterness or displeasure 
towards them for any defect or imperfection; or allow his good 
opinion of them to be lessened. He preferred to compassionate 
them out of his charity, to admonish them very kindly, and 
sometimes with a quiet laugh as a relief to the bashfulness of the 

College, once belonging to the Jesuits in Mantua, 

in which S. Aloysius lived in July 1585 and in October 1589. 

The part of the College which is next to the Church, then belonged to Don Ferrante, 

the father of the Saint. 
(See P. I, ch. 14 and note 43. P. II, ch. 20, 21.) 

one he was reproving, and to show that he did not think their 
defects very serious. He encouraged and consoled them and al 
ways sent them away comforted and full of courage. So charitably 
did he condescend to their different characters, that he was 
able to say: "I make myself all to all, that I may gain all to 
Christ." He guided them in the way of perfection , in conformity 
with their various dispositions and inclinations , as he well knew 

1 4 2 The Life of Chap, 

that all cannot walk in the same path. He would not have his 
novices aim at too great external modesty, which would be lost 
in a few days after leaving the Noviciate, but wished them to 
accustom themselves to observe strictly that modesty which 
they ought always to practise in religious life and to endeavour 
to lay solid foundations of virtue and self-abnegation after the 
example of our Lord Jesus Christ and following in His footsteps, 
as our holy Father S. Ignatius teaches in his Rules. This he 
impressed upon them with weighty words, that they might 
become truly spiritual men and perfect Religious. 

This good Master wished his novices to reverence those 
who were more advanced than themselves in Religion, and to 
have of them that good opinion they deserve; and he would 
tell them, that there is as much difference in virtue and spi 
ritual things between novices and those who are studying in 
the Colleges, as there \$ between those who are learning the 
alphabet, and those who have made progress in science. 
I have known many who had been his novices and subjects, 
everyone of whom have had a high opinion of his sanctity and 
of his method of government, and for this reason. To all he 
showed himself full of charity and humility, and what is more 
important, he was so free from partiality, that each one thought 
himself specially loved by him, and could not suspect that another 
was preferred and loved better than himself. This caused the 
Father to be tenderly loved in return by his subjects, and all 
had recourse to him with confidence in their troubles. No less 
by the example of his life than by his exhortations did he teach 
religious life; and his words had all the more efficacy, because 
in his actions he fulfilled what he taught others, and no one 
could find anything in him to censure, even the smallest matter. 

Some facts are related regarding him which are certainly 
miraculous: as that, when he appeared, a blazing fire was ex 
tinguished, which a number had laboured in vain to put out with 
water: and that he had the gift of knowing what was done by 
his subjects when absent. This is proved by what happened to 
Father Emanuel Sa, an ancient and learned Father, who in i 5 8 3 
retired to the Noviciate. He wished to walk to S. John Lateran 
with Father Mutius Vitelleschi, who was then a novice. He had 
said nothing about this wish, when the Father Rector sent for 
Vitelleschi, and desired him to take his cloak and go. He 

X. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 143 

had the gift of penetrating into their souls and seeing their secret 
thoughts; of this various examples in Naples and other parts of 
Italy have been certified by Fathers of great credit. In i58z 
it was reported that the Noviciate was in want of provisions , and 
the Father had recourse to prayer in this necessity; he was 
sent for to the door by an angel in the form of a young man, 
who gave him a sum of money sufficient for his needs, and im 
mediately disappeared. 

Father Pescatore was held in such great esteem for sanctity 
on account of these circumstances , that when he died, Rector 
of the College at Naples, he did all he could after receiving the 
holy Viaticum to remove this idea from the minds of those 
present, who were closely watching him. The more however 
he tried to hide his sanctity , the more he made known his mo 
desty and humility, giving us this last example before he left 
us for Heaven. S. Aloysius greatly loved and reverenced this 
holy Father, not only because as his superior he held the 
place of God in his regard, but, because of his virtue and 
perfection as a Religious, he had proposed him to himself as a 
model for imitation. As far as he could he noted all his words 
and actions, and opened his soul to him to receive instruction 
and guidance. The Father on his side loved to converse with 
that pure soul who was so well disposed for instruction and full 
of graces and virtues. If before his death he had been able 
to give us details regarding S. Aloysius, we should no doubt 
have learned many more things than have come to our knowledge. 


S. Aloysius visit to Naples and what he did there. 

i586 87. 

t happened that Father Pescatore, towards the autumn 
of i 5 86, fell ill and began to spit blood; so the Father 
General determined to send him to Naples, in the hope 
that the change of air would benefit him. After this 
had been decided, he, one day, asked S. Aloysius if he would 
like to accompany him to Naples; and the Saint, without 
thinking, replied that he would. When Father Pescatore was 

144 The Life of Chap, 

about to leave Rome, the Father G eneral wished him to take with 
him the three most delicate of the novices, to see if the change 
of air would benefit them. Of these, one was a Frenchman, 
John Pruinet by name, who is now dead; another was George 
Elphinstone lla who is at present studying philosophy in Dole, and 
from whom I have had the details of this journey; and the 
third was our Saint, chosen on account of the violent headaches 
from which he suffered. When S. Aloysius knew that he had 
to go, he was much distressed, because he feared there was 
some self-seeking in his so readily accepting the proposal that 
he should accompany the Father; whereas, as he said, he ought 
to have replied that he would submit to the wishes of his 
superiors, and should have shown neither inclination nor aver 
sion. The Father General, however, was not influenced by 
what he said, but merely considered it advisable because of 
his state of health. Because of this, scruple, our Saint deter 
mined in the future, not only to show himself indifferent in all 
things; but to advise others never to say yes or no, but in 
every case to prove themselves indifferent and submit themselves 
to holy obedience. He spoke of this scruple to several, and 
said that following his own will had caused him great trouble 
of mind. Supposing he had to go, he would be delighted to 
travel in such company; and he told one of his companions 
that he looked forward to the journey, because he desired to 
learn from the words and actions of Father Pescatore, how a 
member of the Society should conduct himself when travelling. 
They left Rome on the 2y th of October of that year, and 
when they had reached the point where Rome began to be lost 
to view, S. Aloysius turned towards the city, and with great de 
votion recited the antiphon, "Petrus Apostolus d Paulus Doctor 
gentium", with the prayer of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, 
"Deus, cujus dexter a". Father Pescatore travelled in a litter, 
according to the orders of the doctors, on account of his 
spitting blood; and as one of the three novices had to share it 
with him, and the other two to ride on horseback, S. Aloysius 
did his best to yield the place in the litter to one of his com 
panions, wishing to deprive himself of the constant spiritual 
conversation of his master, which was such a treat to him, 
merely that the others might travel at ease; but, as he was far 
the weakest of the party, they wished that he should occupy 

X. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 145 

the place in the litter. But he found a way of mortifying him 
self even here, for taking his soprano, he made it into a bundle 
and by sitting on it gave himself much more discomfort than he 
would have found on horseback. During the journey he said 
Office with the Father, with whom he had long conversations on 
spiritual matters, and he sought to gather great fruit from the 
spiritual advice and axioms which fell from his lips. The 
Father, on his part, knowing that he was casting seed in good 

Palace of San Sebastiano at Mantua, 

in which S. Aloysius on the and November 1585 gave up his right to the Marquisatc 

of Castiglione. 
(See P. I, ch. 16.) 

ground, gladly, and without reserve, communicated to him the 
secrets of the spiritual life, and gave him the benefit of the 
experience he had gained in the many years during which he 
had been both Rector and Master of novices. S. Aloysius 
always managed that his companions should be the best lodged 
and enjoy more comforts than himself, ever taking the. worst 
for himself, and seeking occasions of practising charity and 
kindness. At the end of the journey he told his companions 

146 The Life of Chap. 

that in those few days, both from the continual society of the 
Father and the long talks he had had with him, as well from 
his example and his manner of dealing with seculars, he had 
learnt more than he had done in many months passed in the 

They arrived at Naples on the I st of November, and, as 
the students recommenced their studies about that time, his 
superiors judged it well that S. Aloysius, after a little rest, 
should attend the lectures on metaphysics, to which he accord 
ingly applied himself. He had already studied the rest of the 
course of philosophy when a secular, as has been mentioned. 

The Father who was at that time Rector of the College 
was himself much given to mortification and penance, and, per 
ceiving that Aloysius was drawn the same way, he was delighted 
and gave him a little more liberty than had been given him in 
Rome, to the great joy of our Saint who congratulated himself 
on his good fortune. 

Whilst in Naples his singular modesty, prudence, humility, 
obedience, and holiness were noticed; and all who spoke of 
him showed how great was their esteem of his virtues. Father 
John Camerota, his professor of metaphysics, in a process 
recently made at the Palace of the Archbishop of Naples, 
deposed as follows: 

"I knew the Blessed Aloysius to be a person of great 
humility. He despised himself, yielded to all, and sought every 
opportunity of lessening himself in the esteem of others. He was 
given to extraordinary mortification, was very devout, spending 
much time in prayer and in union with our Lord God; he was very 
observant of the rules and of a very tender conscience; and, 
together with holiness of life, he was gifted with a singularly 
acute intelligence, joined with great modesty and humility. All 
this I know, because of the opportunities I had of observing 
his actions and character during the time that he remained 
at Naples, and was my scholar. I esteemed him as being of 
great virtue and holiness, and this was the general opinion 
in the College of Naples, and shared in particular by that 
holy man, Father John Baptist Pescatore, who is now dead 
and had been his novice master and his confessor. He spoke 
of him to me several times, as of a person of .more than 
ordinary sanctity." 

X. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 147 

Such are the words of his professor; and being re-examined 
on this in Rome, three years later, by apostolic authority, he 
added this further testimony: 

"He was observant of the very least rules, as that of 
silence; and was a person of very few words. He so mortified 
his flesh, that his superiors were obliged to restrain him. He 
was most devout, and during the time he \vas with me at 
Naples, he seemed to me to be continually occupied in prayer 
and in the contemplation of divine things, and to be always 
speaking with God. As to troubles in his soul he appeared to 
have none. As to humility he always desired to be despised 
and to be held of small account, and he greatly rejoiced if he 
thought others so esteemed him, and he did several things on 
purpose to make them think meanly of him, and of this I have 
seen many examples. 

He was so humble that fearing to trouble me he waited a 
long time at my door, and then knocked so gently that I could 
scarcely hear him; but so far from disturbing me, it was a great 
consolation to me when he came either on account of diffi 
culties in his lectures Or for any other reason. He was most 
modest, and his modesty captivated every one, and caused him 
to be beloved and esteemed by all. His conversation was 
grave, of God and for God, short and in but few words. 

Neither 1 nor others ever noted in him anything that could 
be called a venial sin, or even which betrayed any disordered 
passion. In 1696 I destroyed nearly all the letters 1 had re 
ceived, but I reserved one that the Blessed Aloysius had written 
to me from Portici in 1 5 8 7 , condoling with me on my bad 
health, and promising me his prayers; and, though many have 
begged this letter of me, I have never been willing to part with 
it, but preserve it for my devotion. I know that many of ours 
as well as seculars recommended themselves to his prayers, and 
especially the men employed in building our schools." 

In the same process at Rome, Father Vincent Figliucci, 
a distinguished theologian, declared: "I knew Aloysius in Naples, 
where he was studying metaphysics, from the end of i586 to 
i 5 87. All that time he gave so admirable an example of virtue 
as to be recognized as the most eminent of our religious. He 
was constant and diligent in teaching Christian doctrine to 
the poor. When he was ill in bed his peaceful countenance 

148 The Life of Chap. 

showed how resigned he was to the Will of God, in Whom alone 
he trusted, and he always spoke of the happiness of the other 
life and of the things of God. And if indeed he conversed but 
little, oftentimes when he discoursed of God, he did it with 
such earnestness that one could see how united he was with 
God from his very abstraction of mind. 

He showed great charity to his neighbours, and earnestly 
begged to be allowed to go to the aid of poor prisoners and 
to serve in the hospitals; and he was the means of reconciling 
his brother novices, when there was any slight misunderstanding. 
In prudence he was above his years, and he seemed to possess 
it to an almost superhuman degree, and showed it by speaking 
with the greatest consideration, as well as in all his exterior 
actions. He seemed to do. nothing that was not premeditated 
and directed to its right end, and from this arose the singular 
calm he always enjoyed. He displayed in all his actions great 
candour of mind, interpreting favourably all the sayings and 
doings of others, confining himself to the bare facts, without 
circumlocution or ornaments of speech, never exaggerating but 
relating everything simply. He was never seen to give way to 
anger, and he had the movements of his soul under such con 
trol, that he appeared to enjoy perpetual peace. 

S. Aloysius suffered constantly from headaches, but he 
bore them with such patience and outward composure that he 
appeared to be free from them. He suffered with the greatest 
patience the illness he had in Naples, leaving himself entirely 
in the hands of the infirmarians, and never allowing a word or 
a sign of impatience to escape him. He was very remarkable 
for the virtue of humility, avoiding all praise whether on account 
of his noble birth or of the singular gifts he had received from 
nature, and he was always amongst the first to seek any humble 
or mean duties, and that with a ready will and even exterior 
gladness. He cared not to hear news of what happened in 
the world but seemed like a man dead to himself. He was a 
model of the custody of his feelings, and showed it in his exterior 
behaviour, which struck every one. He delighted in mortifying 
himself continually as far as he could. He was most observant 
of the rule of silence, so that, I think, he never broke it. He 
loved poverty, and hence arose in him the desire he had to 
wear the most worn-out clothes that were to be found in the 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. !^g 

house. He obeyed the slightest sign of his superiors with the 
utmost simplicity and readiness." 

And Father Antony Beatilli, that accurate and pious 
collector of the edifying examples of his time, wrote: "It is 
difficult to believe the great edification that the angelic Aloysius 
Gonzaga gave during his sojourn in the College at Naples, 
to the members of the Society by the exercise of all the 
virtues they saw him practise within our walls, as well as to 
seculars by the continual example of such rare modesty; for 
he kept his eyes fixed on the ground and never looked at anyone. 
And for all that, he attracted from afar the gaze of everyone, 
so that many people collected in the courtyard of the College 
on purpose to observe his angelic demeanour as he passed 
through on going to and from school with our other students. 
All admired and praised him, and thanked God for allowing 
them to know so great a saint. 

One day especially when it was known in Naples that Pope 
Sixtus V. had promoted to the Cardinalate the Patriarch Scipio 
Gonzaga, a person of importance arrived at the College to 
inform Aloysius, just at the time that he was attending the 
lectures, so that this personage had to wait till they were over. 
A crowd of people collected to see how this modest youth 
would receive the news of the honour done to his relative, and 
they had no cause to regret having come there, for, when 
Aloysius was informed of what had happened, he showed no 
change of countenance and appeared as indifferent as if the 
new Cardinal was no relation of his and was quite unknown to 
him. Nor did he change his modest demeanour any more than 
if he were a statue. And yet besides being a member of the 
same family, Aloysius regarded the Cardinal with singular affect 
ion, on account of the help he had given in the matter of his 
vocation. Having heard the news, without even raising his 
eyes from the ground, he showed by the slight blush that rose 
to his cheeks that he felt rather annoyance than pleasure. 
When he had returned to the house with his fellow scholars, 
those of the students who had been present were so astonished, 
as never to tire of extolling his virtue, his virginal modesty, and 
his detachment from worldly honours and grandeur, because he 
felt mortified by news, which commonly gives joy to the members 
of the same family and is an occasion of public rejoicing." 

Saint Aloysius. 

I5 o The Life of Chap. 

Others who were at the College, at that time, deposed 
that he sought obscurity when at Naples, often associated with 
the lay Brothers, and, as far as he could, hid his noble origin. 
On account of the desire that his superiors had that the other 
novices might profit by the example of S. Aloysius, they placed 
him in the largest room of the quarter of the novices, so that 
he might have more companions. He suffered so much from 
sleeplessness at night, that he had need of repose in the morning, 
but this he could not enjoy, because his companions who got 
up early disturbed him. The result was that his health suffered. 
When his superiors noticed this, as they wished to procure for 
him more rest, they removed him from that room, and placed 
him by himself in another under a great hall; but as this hall 
was the passage to rooms all of which were occupied, the con 
stant going to and fro, first of one and then of another, made 
this room noisier and less suited to the purpose than the pre 
vious one. S. Aloysius perceived this, but thanked God for it, as 
though it were a particular favour of His Divine Majesty. And, in 
truth, so it seemed to be, for, in spite of the vigilance and care 
of his superiors, many noted with astonishment most extra 
ordinary occurences which happened in the College, doubtless 
by the Providence of God, which afforded him matter of merit 
and of reward. As, for example, he had, for out door use, a 
soprana much shorter than usual, and which was not only 
threadbare and torn, but discoloured by age. Had any other 
novice worn it, the superiors would have made him change 
it for propriety s sake, but they did not appear to notice it when 
he wore it, though it may be that he had begged for it, and 
to satisfy him he was allowed to keep it. 

It happened several times in the winter, that after dinner 
on Feast-days, he went with the others to sing Vespers at the 
Professed House; although, when the weather was bad, the 
Minister would not allow others less delicate than our Saint to 
go. For he stood at the door when they were going out, and 
bade them return to their rooms; but he did not appear to 
notice S. Aloysius, otherwise he certainly would have stopped him. 
More than this, if there is one place in the Society where 
they take special care of the delicate, it is in our College at 
Naples, and nevertheless when S. Aloysius fell sick of erysipelas 
accompanied with fever, which confined him to bed for more 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. I r I 

than a month and placed his life in great danger, in spite of the 
attention of the infirmarians, he was left a whole night without 
sheets, a thing which I do not believe ever happened in the 
Colleges of the Society to any other invalid. God, I think, 
permitted it in his case to give him pleasure. During this illness 
he always displayed great patience; and, though he suffered 
constant and severe pain, his countenance was always calm; 
and he would converse with those who visited him, with much 
humility and submission. When he had recovered from this 
illness, it became evident that the air of Naples did not agree 
with him, as his headaches increased in violence, and the 
Father General recalled him to Rome. 

He left Naples on May the 8 th , iSSj, after a residence 
there of only six months, in company with Father Gregory 
Mastrilli then Preposito of the house at Naples. 


S. Aloysius studies at the Roman College. His life 
and virtues there. 


[he return of S. Aloysius to Rome was a source of 
great joy to the students of the Roman College, 
more especially to those who had known him and 
_ had been with him in the noviciate of S. Andrea, 

and all of them hoped to benefit by his virtuous example and 
pious conversation. He himself was no less delighted at being 
thus enabled to make his studies in Rome, the Capital of 
Christendom, and in the foremost college and university of 
the Society. From this time till the day of his holy death, I, 
with many others of the same college, lived on familiar terms 
with him, and I was thus an eyewitness of the greater part of 
the things here related; and more than this, from that time I 
carefully noted them with a view to writing them down, as I 
have already stated in the introduction to this work. 

S. Aloysius pursued the study of Metaphysics, and he 
very soon showed how deeply he was versed in Logic and 
Natural Science. He made such rapid progress in Metaphysics 

15 2 The Life of Chap, 

that by Father Paul Valle, the Professor who now lectures on 
Theology in that college, and by his superiors he was deemed 
the one most capable of defending in public theses the whole 
range of Philosophy. 

And as on this occasion the Cardinals della Rovere, 
Mondovi (Lauri), and Gonzaga with other prelates and noblemen 
desired to be present, the discussion was held in the great hall 
of the college, though they take place ordinarily in the theology 

S. Aloysius by his defence won the applause of all who 
heard him, and the special approbation of their Eminences, 
who were amazed that he should have made such progress 
in such a short time, during which he had suffered so much 
from illness. Two things regarding these discussions may be 
added. First, before he began, the Saint hesitated for a time 
whether for his own humiliation an d mortification, he should 
purposely give a reply which was incorrect. Not being able to 
satisfy himself, he sought the advice of Father Mutius de 
Angelis, a professor of philosophy in the Roman College, not 
only a good scholar, but a very spiritual and virtuous man, 
with whom our Saint often talked about spiritual things. Though 
this Father dissuaded him for prudent reasons from following 
his own desire, the thought and the wish to do this act of 
mortification returned, when he was about to speak, and 
for a few moments he doubted what to do, but the reasons 
adduced by the Father prevailed, and he answered as well as 
ever he could. In the second place, he had such a great 
horror of praise, that when one of the four doctors who were 
arguing against him, began by a preamble in praise of the 
family of Gonzaga and of the ancestors of Aloysius, it caused 
the Saint to blush so deeply that those who understood the 
cause felt sorry for him. 

Cardinal di Mondovi in particular noticed his ingenuous 
confusion, and showed himself much pleased at it. Aloysius 
in his replies always answered as if he were half angry with 
this doctor. 

His philosophy being ended, he was at once put to study 
theology. During the four years he spent in this study he 
had four masters, Father Augustine Giustiniani, and Father Bene 
dict Giustiniani, Genoese, Father Gabriel Vasquez and Father 

XI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 153 

John Azor, Spaniards, all men of great experience and learning, 
as their works clearly indicate. 1 2 Aloysius showed them great 
deference and respect: he always praised them and never was 
he heard to differ from their opinions or judgment or to 
find fault with their method of lecturing, dictating, or their treat- 

The Holy House of Loretto, 

which S. Aloysius visited on his way to Rome, 1585, to fulfil his mother s vow. 
(See P. I, ch. i, 17.) 

ment of questions; neither did he compare one with another, or 
give any sort of preference to one before another. He endea 
voured to make his professor s opinion his own, and sought 
out reasons to support it, and never allowed any liking to bias 
his understanding. 

S. Aloysius never showed any fondness for extravagant 
opinions: all his affection was centred on the writings of S. 

154 The Life of Chap. 

Thomas of Aquin, which he preferred to any others, on account 
of their order, clearness, and accuracy: he had also a particular 
devotion to the holiness of this great Doctor. 

Our Saint possessed great abilities and a clear understanding 
combined with mature judgment, as we have seen, and to this 
his professors bore witness, one of whom stated that none of 
his scholars had ever given him occasion to consider his answers 
except Aloysius Gonzaga, on occasion of a difficulty which he 
proposed. AVith great ability, he combined diligence in study, 
as far as his health and the permission of superiors would allow. 
Before study he always prayed for a short time, and his method 
was not to read a variety of authors, but to consider attentively 
the lectures of his professor. If any difficulty occurred that he 
was not able to solve, he noted it down, and proposed it at 
the end of the repetition, after the others had stated their diffi 
culties; or, when he had collected a number of them, he 
chose a time which was convenient for the professor, and went 
to his room to ask for a solution. 

He always spoke in Latin on these occasions and stood 
with his biretta in his hand unless he were told to put it on, 
and as soon as the answer had been given he went back at 
once to his room. He would not read any book on the sub 
ject of his studies without the leave and advice of his professors; 
and how exactly he obeyed them, can be seen by this fact. 
He went once to Father Augustine Giustiniani s room, about 
some difficulty as to predestination. The Father after he had given 
him the answer, opened the seventh volume of S. Augustine, 
and pointed out to him to read what the Saint had written 
on the subject, towards the close of the book De Bono per- 
severantiae. He read the whole page pointed out to him, but 
would not turn over the next to read some ten lines which 
remained to finish the book, simply because the Father had 
not told him to read any further. The Father had not per 
ceived those lines, as they were on the other side of the page. 

S. Aloysius disputed and defended in the schools and at 
home, whenever he was ordered by the Bidellus, the scholastic 
who acts as beadle in the lecture room. And he offered 
himself whenever the Brother liked, to supply at any time 
he could not find another, for a defension. His talents were 
easily seen in his statements and replies, for by pressing the 

XI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 155 

arguments home once or twice, he got right at the point of 
the difficulty. Yet he never showed the least sign of osten 
tation with regard to his abilities or learning, or of any wish 
to overcome others. He disputed with modest power, without 
wounding by his words, without getting excited, or raising 
his voice. He gave his adversary time to examine his point 
and to reply to it, without interrupting him; and when the 
doubt was cleared up and the difficulty solved, he quite 
naturally relapsed into silence. Before the signal was given 
for school, he was in the habit of going to the church to visit 
the Blessed Sacrament; and he did the same when he came 
back to the house, both morning and evening. 

"The venerable Father Caesar Franciotti," these are the 
words of Father Massimilian Deza in his life, * being a fellow 
student of that angel in the flesh, S. Aloysius Gonzaga, speaks 
of him as a high example of the angelical virtue, holy modesty, 
and in one of his letters gives this high estimate of him. I saw 
that holy young man on his way to the lecture, going by with 
the others to his place, modest but cheerful, recollected but gay, 
humble but pleasant, bashful but serene and tranquil." 

In going to and returning from the schools, and during 
the lecture, a wonderful modesty and composure were visible 
in him, so that many of the scholars would stay in the court 
yard of the college to see him pass by and were greatly edified. 
A foreign abbot who had finished his course of theology in 
the Roman College, attracted by his modesty, continued to go 
there merely to see him, and never took his eyes off him during 
the lecture. As it was usual in winter, to put one s arms into 
the sleeves of the soprana, he asked a companion if it were 
allowed to go to the lecture at the schools in that way, or 
whether he thought it might give scandal. When he was assured 
it would not, he generally wore the soprana in that fashion. 

All this is not surprising, for, . as Father Bernardine Rossig- 
noli, the provincial of Venice, deposed in the process instituted 
by the Patriarch of Venice, there seemed to be verified in him 
those words of S. Ambrose on the verse in the psalm: Qui 
timent te, videbunt me et laetabuntur^ They who fear Thee, O 
my God, shall see me walking in the way of Thy command 
ments and shall rejoice thereat. "The sight of a just man is 
precious; for to the greater number of people it serves as a 

156 The Life of Chap. 

warning to correct, while to the more perfect it brings gladness." 
F. Rossignoli went on to say, that the sight of this holy young 
man had just the same effect on those who saw him, so that there 
were verified in him these words : "The countenance of the just man 
heals, and the glances of the eyes of the just man seem to in 
fuse a certain virtue into those who faithfully desire to see him." 

All this was true of Aloysius, for his exterior appearance was 
so well regulated that he moved to devotion and compunction 
all who looked upon him. Nay more, he raised to a higher level 
all those who had any intercourse with him, not merely seculars 
and his young religious companions, but also grave Fathers who 
seemed in his presence to become recollected; nor would any 
one have dared to say or to do anything before him which 
would have savoured of levity. No wonder that so many 
strangers took such great pleasure in seeing him and came to 
the schools solely on that account. 

In going to and returning from the schools, at lecture and 
during the disputations, he was never seen nor heard to say 
even one single word to anyone, whether a secular or religious, but 
he preserved silence perfectly. His superiors out of consideration 
for his constant weakness and indisposition, would not allow him 
to take down the lectures in the schools, especially, because as 
he was not accustomed to it, he could never have kept up to the 
speed at which the lecturers spoke. They therefore ordered him 
to get a professional scribe to write for him, and he did so. But 
he thought it not suitable that those who were delicate and have 
others to write for them, should have the money to pay the 
writer. For he said there might be danger in this, of various 
imperfections arising against the perfection of poverty and of 
the Institute. Therefore he sent the writer to be paid by the 
procurator of the college, who was appointed for the purpose, 
without troubling himself more about it. He lent his manuscripts 
willingly to anyone who wanted them, nor did he ask for them 
back, and they brought them of their own accord. One 
year it happened that Father Gabriel Vasquez could not finish 
dictating in the schools the treatise on the Trinity. When he 
had given the more important subjects, the rest he left to the 
students to write out for themselves. His superiors told S. Aloy 
sius to have it copied. He looked first through the professor s 
manuscript, and leaving out some of the easier things, he had 


S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 1 r-^ 

only the more difficult and necessary ones written out. When 
asked by some one why he had done that, he answered: "Because 
I am a poor man, and I do it for the sake of holy poverty; 
poor people ought not to spend except for necessary things. 3 

Obijir die 07. Any, 
Seel. dies jg. 

Pope Sixtus V. 

who gave his blessing to S. Aloysius on his entrance into the Society of Jesus. 
(See P. I, ch. 17.) 

In the last years of his studies our Saint feared that having 
some one to write for him might be taken rather as vanity 
or a needless convenience, than as a necessity; so he begged 
his superiors to let him write for himself, and he argued his 
cause so well, that he was allowed. As he could not keep 
up with the master, he listened for a little while to what he 
said, and then made short notes of it. At the end of the lecture 

I 5 8 The Life of Chap, 

he looked at his companions notes, and took from them any 
thing necessary that he had missed. He enjoyed working hard 
in this way, so as to give good example and edification to the 
others. He would not keep in his room books which he did 
not want frequently, thinking it not fit for a religious and lover 
of holy poverty, to have by him books which he never or but 
seldom used, when he could with but a little inconvenience go 
to the common library to consult them. At last he got to 
such a point, that he would only keep a Bible and the Summa 
of S. Thomas, and when he had to consult the Fathers or other 
books he went to the library. He found one day that a scho 
lastic lately arrived at the college, had not the Summa of 
S. Thomas, for as there were in the college besides Fathers 
and Professors, more than forty theological students, there were 
not enough copies to give one to each, out of the common 
stock, nor is it allowed that anyone should keep books of his 
own nor provide himself with them. So S. Aloysius went to the 
Father Rector and asked him to allow him to give the student 
the copy which had been assigned to himself, giving as a reason 
that in case of need he could use that of the companion who 
shared his room. At his earnest request the Rector gave him 
permission, which caused him the greatest pleasure, because he 
Avas able to show charity to a brother, and also to make 
himself poorer than before, since he had nothing of his own, 
and of the common property he had only a Bible. 

This is all that I can narrate about the studies of S. Aloy 
sius. Much more remains to be said about the virtues which 
shone forth in him at this time, in all of which he was remark 
able. He was also a wonderful and living example of every 
perfection interior and exterior. More than two hundred religious 
of the Society are eye witnesses of this, for we were all living 
in the same college with him and continually had to do with him. 

XII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 159 

He makes his vows and receives Minor Orders. 

aint Aloysius had now been two full years in the 
Society. As he was fully satisfied with the Order and 
the Society was fully satisfied with him, after a few 
days of retreat and making the Spiritual Exercises, 
on November the twenty-fifth, 1687, the feast of S. Catherine, 
virgin and martyr, on which day two years before he had entered 
the noviciate, he took his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, 
in the presence of many persons, in the chapel of the new 
dwelling, over the schools, and at the top of the Roman College. 
Father Vincent Bruno, then Rector, gave him Holy Communion 
and received his vows. S. Aloysius was filled with spiritual joy 
to see himself at length a real religious, and united to God by 
the closest of ties. On February 2 5 th , i588, he received the 
tonsure in the Basilica of S. John Lateran with a number of 
the Society, one of whom was the blessed Father Abraham 
Giorgi, a Maronite, who on his way to India was martyred for 
the faith in Abyssinia. 

In the same Church and with the same companions, Aloy 
sius was ordained doorkeeper on the 28 th of February, lector 
on the 6 th of March, exorcist on the 12 th , and acolyte on 
the 20 th of the same month, as is recorded in a book of the 
Roman College, kept for the purpose. 

He continued ever to lead a life, full of every virtue that 
could he wished for in a cleric and religious. I shall speak of 
these now, while treating of the Roman College, for that place 
may well be called his permanent home ; and in it, more than 
in any other, his virtues were known and admired. 

160 The Life of Chap. 

The humility of S. Aloysius. 

fo begin with humility, as the foundation of religious 
perfection and sanctity, and the guardian of every 
virtue. In this S. Aloysius was so remarkable, that, 
though the favours and graces he had received from 
God were so great, he never exalted himself in the least by 
pride, but always preserved holy humility. In no other virtue 
was he more diligent than in the practice of this. 

After his death some of his spiritual writings were found, 
which I kept for a short time, and amongst them was one 
which he had composed as a sort of rule of his actions. At the 
end he puts some reasons for acquiring humility, and as the paper 
is short and may help others, I give it in his own words. It is 
as follows: "The first principle is that thou art made for God, 
and obliged to tend towards Him because of thy creation, 
redemption and vocation. From this thou wilt conclude, that 
thou art bound not only to abstain from every evil deed, but 
even from those that are indifferent and useless; and on the 
contrary to make every endeavour, that all thy operations interior 
or exterior may be virtuous, that so thou mayest always draw 
nearer to God. 

Afterwards in order to descend more to particulars in serv 
ing God, thou must establish within thyself these other three 

First, that by the vocation of the members of the Society 
of Jesus, and thine in particular, thou art called to follow the 
standard of Christ and of His Saints: hence it follows, that in 
every office, duty and exercise, thou wilt consider it as belonging 
to thy vocation; and on thy side wilt avoid or embrace it as 
much as it is conformable to the example of Christ and of His 
Saints. For this reason thou wilt make thyself well acquainted 
with the life and actions of Christ by meditating on them and 
with those of the Saints by consideration and reflection. 

The second, to regulate thy affections is, that thou wilt 
lead a religious and spiritual life, inasmuch as in thy interior 
thou seekest to guide thyself according to the rules of eternity 

XIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. T 6i 

and not of time, so that in all thy affections, desires, and joys, 
thou mayest have a spiritual motive, and the same in what dis 
pleases thee: being convinced that in this consists spirituality. 
The third is, that as the devil continually attacks thee by 
vanity and self-esteem, and as this is the weak side of thy soul, 
thou must the more strenuously and constantly endeavour to resist 

S. Aloysius at the time of his life in the Society. 

After an oil painting in the Sacristy of the Church of S. Aloysius at Castiglione, 

which was given to the Sacristy by Joanna, the Saint s niece, 

as an inscription of 1684 records. 

him by humility, and self contempt, both interior and exterior. 
For this end thou wilt propose to thyself some rules to attend 
especially to the study of this virtue, which have been taught 
by our Lord and confirmed by experience. 

For the practice of Humility. 

The first means is to understand well that though this virtue 
is particularly suited to men, because of the lowliness of their 

l62 The Life of cha P- 

origin, nevertheless "it does not grow in our garden", but we 
must beg it from Heaven, from Him, "from Whom is every best 
and perfect gift"; therefore though thou art proud, endeavour 
with the greatest possible humility to ask this virtue from the 
Infinite Majesty of God, the first and principal author of it, 
and then by the merits and intercession of the profound humility 
of Jesus Christ, Who when He was in the form of God emp 
tied Himself taking the form of a servant. 

The second means is to have recourse to the intercession 
of those Saints that have excelled in this virtue. 

1) Remember that if here below they were worthy to ob 
tain in a special way and degree this virtue, so in Heaven, where 
they are more pleasing to God than they were on earth, they 
will be all the more worthy and deserving; and as they have no 
more need to humble themselves for their own sake, as by this 
virtue they have gone up to the heights of heaven, pray them 
now to be pleased to obtain it for you from God. 

2) Consider that here on earth he who has distinguished 
himself in any profession naturally tries to help on others 
in the same calling. Thus candidates for the army endeavour to 
secure the good word of a successful general at Court; and 
it is the same with literary men, architects, and mathematicians - 
those who themselves have achieved excellence in these arts are 
the patrons of those who aspire to achieve it. So in heaven 
those, who have been pre-eminent in any virtue, are specially 
ready to assist all who desire to acquire it and with this ob 
ject address themselves to them. Therefore do not forget to 
have recourse in the first place to the Blessed Virgin, Mother 
of God, who excelled in this virtue above any other pure creature. 
Next, among the Apostles, to S. Peter who said of himself: 
"Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinner"; and to S. Paul 
who, though he had been rapt into the third heaven, thought 
so humbly of himself that he said: "Jesus came into this world 
to save sinners, of whom I am the chief." The first of these 
two thoughts will make you understand what powerful advocates 
these Saints are with God for obtaining this virtue for you. The 
second will convince you that they are not only able, but willing 
to do it." 

From these words of S. Aloysius we may gather how 
greatly he delighted in humility. 

XIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 163 

In another manuscript in his handwriting entitled Divine 
Affections^ he says: "You should recommend your desires to 
God, not as they are in yourself, but as they are in the breast 
of Jesus. For since they are good, they will be in Jesus, before 
they are in you, and He will express them infinitely better than 
you can to the Eternal Father. When you desire any virtue, 
you should have recourse to those saints, who have been 
specially distinguished for it; -- for example for humility, to 
SS. Francis, Alexius &c. for charity to SS. Peter and Paul, 
to vS. Mary Magdalen &c. If you wanted to obtain promotion 
in the army from an earthly prince, you would address him 
through the General of his forces or through one of the Colonels, 
rather than through the Master of the Household, or any other 
domestic official. In the same way, if you wish to obtain forti 
tude from God, you should go to the martyrs; or penitence, to 
the confessors; and so with the rest." 

Here we find the same thought as in the first manuscript. 
S. Aloysius had a very low opinion of himself, which he mani 
fested both in words and actions. He never did a thing, or said 
a word, that could tend in the remotest way to his own honour. 
He always concealed by a marvellous silence his greatness in 
the world, as for example his noble lineage, his family, his Mar- 
quisate and things of that kind, as well as any personal gift, his 
great abilities, his learning, and anything that could procure him 
praise, and anything approaching to such flattery made him at 
once blush like a girl. If you wished to cover him with con 
fusion a word of praise was enough. I will quote only two in 
stances out of many others. 

On one occasion when he was ill, the Doctor who came 
to him, began to compliment him on his high birth and near 
relationship with the Dukes of Mantua. As he did not wish to be 
held for what he was, he felt the greatest annoyance and showed 
plainly how distasteful the subject was to him. And as these 
sorts of occasions were constantly recurring, his high birth was 
a source of displeasure to him; and there was nothing that he so 
much disliked as to be reminded of it. Indeed the only passion 
that seemed not wholly eradicated from his breast was a certain 
resentment against those who paid him compliments of this kind. 

Another time when on the Feast of the Purification he had 
preached a very touching and beautiful sermon in the Refectory, 

1 64 The Life of Chap. 

Father Jerome Piatti spoke highly of it before his face. At this 
he blushed so deeply, and was evidently so distressed at receiving 
these praises which he did not think he deserved, that Father 
Francis Belmisseri says all were delighted with his humility. 
This virtue made everyone who saw him very fond of him. 
Roth in the house and abroad, he always took the lowest place; 
and, when he was sent out with any of the lay Brothers, he 
insisted on giving them the precedence, as he did several times 
to the cook. Although they disliked it, he invented so many good 
reasons for this on all occasions that, not to vex him, they had 
to consent. The superiors however at last reproved Aloysius 
for this and forbade him to do it any more, if for no other 
reason, out of respect to the tonsure, which he ought to consider 
more than his own humiliation. Cardinal Bellarmine said in 
one of his sermons that he had seen him walking on the left 
of the lay Brothers; and that though he admired the humility 
of S. Aloysius, he nevertheless admonished the Brothers for 
allowing this. At home the Saint loved to be with them and 
to talk with them; and at meals he generally made his way to 
a table in a corner at the bottom of the Refectory, which was 
mostly frequented by the cook and those who served, because it 
was nearer to the kitchen. 

His superiors seeing that he looked delicate and sickly, 
made him take his meals at the convalescents table; nor would 
they let him rise with the rest at so early an hour, and they 
relieved him of other fatiguing duties. But our Saint feared that 
this was partly out of regard to his rank, and took such pains 
to persuade them that it was unnecessary, that he finally obtained 
leave to live in all ways like the others. When some of his 
intimate friends tried to persuade him to acquiesce in what had 
been ordered, by telling him that he would make himself ill, 
he replied that as he was a religious he ought to make every 
effort to live like the other religious, and, that as to making 
himself ill by doing what his Institute required of him, as long 
as he was not disobedient, he never gave a thought to that. 

In the Roman College there were generally about two 
hundred persons, and consequently it was impossible to give a 
separate room to each of the scholastics. Those only had 
them who were priests, professors, officials, or others, who for 
good reasons required rooms to themselves. The rest were 


S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 

grouped together, as the superiors thought fit, each room having 
several beds and desks. As it was clear that S. Aloysius was 
sickly, they wished to give him a room to himself. But he 
went to the Rector and represented to him that for example s 
sake it would be better that he should be with others. And he 

S. Aloysius Crucifix in religion, 

which is kept in the Church of the Assumption at ^Cologne, formerly belonging to 

the Jesuits. The Cross was presented by Cardinal John de Lugo S.J. to F. Goswin 

Nickel , during a visit to Rome. He was then Rector of the Roman College, and 

later on General of the Society. 

got his request. He did not wish to have a Theologian with 
him, which seemed to him too great an honour, but rather some 
one of lower degree, though he cheerfully accepted whoever was 
assigned to him. 

He asked to be made prefect of the room in the Seminary, 
an office which, besides any humiliation which may be borne 

Saint Aloysius. 

The Life of 


gladly, involves many discomforts and constant attention. But his 
superiors would not grant this, as they considered that he had 
not health for it. When he had finished his theology, Aloysius 
wished to be sent to teach the lowest school of grammar, partly 
for the sake of the opportunity of forming the little ones in 
virtue and Christian piety, --he used to envy the masters of 
grammar and call them blessed on this account, and partly 
out of humility and to avoid the slightest singularity. He begged 
again and again to be employed in this way; and that he might 
not appear to ask it to humble himself, or out of any virtuous 
motive, he told the Father Rector, Bernardine Rossignoli, that 
he was not well grounded in his grammar and that his Latin 
was not correct; and, as both were necessary for the work of the 
Society, he must needs learn them. He said the same thing to 
Father Jerome Brunelli, the Prefect of the lower schools; and he 
showed him some faulty Latin exercises that he had composed 
for the scholars of these classes, in order that this Father might 
know what he desired and was able to do, and so might help 
him to obtain what he sought. At his request, and to see whether 
he was really ignorant of Latin, the Father Rector gave him a 
companion in his room with whom he could talk in Latin, and 
it was found that he knew the language perfectly. In spite of 
that he came back again to the Father Rector with the same 
request, and told him that he could never learn to speak good 
Latin or master his grammar in this way, but that to acquire 
them properly he must teach them to others. 

Our Saint often went about Rome in a ragged habit, with 
a bag on his back, asking alms; and he took great delight in 
this. There was no duty in the house, how lowly or base it 
might be, of which he was not as ambitious as others are of 
dignities and honours. On Mondays and Tuesdays he used 
generally to serve in the kitchen after the mid-day and evening 
meal, and his business was to take away the plates from table 
and wash them, as well as to gather up the scraps for the poor. 
And when the duty fell to him, as it often did, for he was always 
begging his superiors for this office, he carried these alms in 
baskets, and gave them to the poor at the door, with the greatest 
humility and charity. On all week-days after lectures, he used 
to occupy himself in other menial work, either sweeping out his 
room or other parts of the house which were allotted to him, 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. ^7 

or, with a long bamboo cane or something of the kind, removing 
the cobwebs in the public rooms. 

For several years S. Aloysius had charge of cleaning and 
trimming the lamps in the corridors and staircases, and of 
supplying them with oil and wicks when needed. He found such 
great delight in these menial occupations that he could not 
contain it, but showed it in his face and manner. So much so 
that among others, Father Guelfucci, when he saw him so em 
ployed , used to say that he was triumphant and had got the very 
thing he wished for. Our Saint himself said that this feeling of 
joy came to him naturally without any thought or effort on his 
part. These things may not seem strange to the Religious of 
the Society, who are accustomed to do them and to see them 
done; nevertheless in themselves and considering the persons 
who do them, they are very edifying. Finally, it may be said 
of him, that he truly despised himself and sought humiliation 
in all things. 

The obedience of S. Aloysius. 

I o this profound humility, S. Aloysius joined the most 
perfect obedience, of which it is enough to say that 
he never remembered to have gone against the wishes 

or commands of his superiors, nor even to have felt 

any movement or inclination, even initial, in opposition, un 
less it might be when they interfered with his devotions, nor 
was even this commonly the case. And, if he did perceive in 
himself any trace of disinclination, he with extraordinary diligence 
suppressed it at once. Hence not only his will, but also his 
feelings and judgment were in accord with those of his superiors 
on every matter; nor did he ever require a reason for anything 
that they commanded. 

The fact that they ordered it was quite enough to con 
vince him that it was all right. This perfect obedience sprang 
from his habit of looking upon every superior as holding the 
place of God. He said that since we have to obey God, Who 
is invisible, and cannot receive commands directly from Him or 
learn His will, He has placed here on earth, as His vicars and 

1 68 The Life of Chap. 

the interpreters of His will, our superiors , through whom He 
tells us what He requires of us ; and He desires us to obey them 
as His messengers. This is what S. Paul means in the Epistle 
to the Ephesians, when he says servants, be obedient to them that 
are your lords according to the flesh, as to Christ, doing the will 
of God from the heart; and in that to the Colossians: What 
soever yon do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not 
to men: because the command is to be held as coming from 
God, since the superior is a messenger who bears to us the 
order of God. 

As when a king sends an order to a subject by his chamber 
lain or some other official, that command is not said to be the 
official s, but the king s or the prince s order, and is obeyed as 
such, so every religious should accept the orders of his superiors 
as those of God, sent to him by means of a man, and as such 
to be done as promptly and reverently as possible. From this con 
viction sprang the great respect and devotion which he had for his 
superiors, because he looked upon them as the officials of God 
and the interpreters of the Divine will. It also made him take 
a great delight in their commands; and yield, as far as in him 
lay, equal obedience to all, the highest as the lowest, learned or 
unlearned, holy or imperfect, whatever their qualifications might 
be, in as much as they held the place of God. He added 
that anyone who accustoms himself to obey from this motive 
gains two things. First, he has no trouble or difficulty in 
obeying, but on the contrary the greatest joy and facility, since 
he is doing the will of God, Whom to serve is deemed the 
greatest of graces and favours. Secondly, he becomes really and 
formally obedient, and thus is sure of the reward promised 
to those who are truly such. On the contrary, he who obeys, 
because what is commanded suits his own taste and wishes, 
or because of the qualities or talents of his superior or because 
of his affection towards him, in the first place does not seem 
worthy of the merit of obedience, nor can he be called formally 
obedient, because this virtue is not the motive of his action. 
And in the second place, if his superior is changed for one who 
does not possess the same qualities, for whom he has not the 
same esteem, or the things commanded do not commend them 
selves to his judgment, he will certainly feel considerable pain, 
and be exposed to great dangers. 

XIV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. [69 

S. Aloysius looked upon it as cowardly to be under any 
man or to obey him out of any human respect whatever, and 
not from the spiritual motives given above. 

It seemed to him also that superiors, when out of condes 
cension to the weakness and imperfection of their subjects, they 
give reasons for their commands and use merely human motives 
to persuade them to obedience, run a great risk of doing harm to 

Church of the "Gesu" at Rome 

in which S. Aloysius as a Novice served Holy Mass during two months. On the 

right, next to the Church, the Professed House of the Society of Jesus, in which the 

Saint lived during this time. 

(See P. II, ch. 4, 6.) 

those whom they govern. He wished on these grounds that su 
periors both with himself and with others should go forwards fear 
lessly, and that in changing their subjects from one place or office 
to another, or disposing of them in any other way, they should 
give no reason but the service of God or the greater glory of 
God, and so give their orders. He would, for example, have 
them say, merely: "We judge it to be for the greater glory and 
service of God that you go to such a place or accept this 

170 The Life of Chap. 

employment. Go then with the blessing of the Lord." In this 
way, he said, superiors show confidence in their subjects, give 
proof that they esteem them to be good and obedient religious, 
accustom them to formal obedience, and afford them occasions 
of a merit all the greater as there is least of what is human 
about it; whereas by the other course, all these advantages are 
lost, and an occasion is often given to subjects to excuse them 
selves from complying, especially when it is easy to see or to 
suspect that the reasons given for these removals are not the 
ones which are told or written to them. He used also to say 
that he had been led to have a great love for obedience by 
often finding a particular providence of God towards himself in 
the commands of superiors. Very frequently, without asking, 
he had been desired or given leave to do things that his own 
devotion or some divine inspiration had made him wish for. 
Thus on one occasion, while meditating on the various places 
to which Our Lord was led during the Passion, he conceived a 
great desire to visit the Seven Churches of Rome, when quite out 
of the usual course, and his superior sent for him and desired 
him to do so. This was doubly sweet to him both for the thing 
itself, and as a sign of God s special providence, even in little 
things. Many more instances could be given, which for the 
sake of brevity we omit. 

"When he was reprimanded by his superior for anything, he 
would stand in an attitude of recollection, with his head un 
covered, and eyes cast down, listening humbly to what was told 
him, and never showing any annoyance or excusing himself. One 
day when I, who was then his companion and superior, was 
reproving him for some fault which he often fell into, in conse 
quence of his abstraction from outward things, he was so much 
distressed, that he fainted. The moment he came to himself, 
he fell on his knees, and with tears begged pardon for what he 
had done, with such humility that I could not persuade him 
to rise. 

The strict observance of religious rule also belongs to 
this virtue of obedience; and S. Aloysius carried it to a point 
that might almost be considered excessive. Not only did he 
never voluntarily transgress any rule, however insignificant, but he 
was as punctilious in its observance, as if in the least transgression 
there was a grievous peril and harm. He practised this without 

XV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 171 

any respect of persons, not only religious but also seculars. One 
day he was sent by the superior to visit his relation, Cardinal della 
Rovere. He invited our Saint to stay for dinner. Aloysius replied: 
"Your Eminence, I cannot, for it is against our rule." The 
Cardinal was much edified by his answer and never afterwards 
asked him to do anything, without adding the proviso: "If your 
rule permits." He told the Father Rector that he was careful 
to do this in order not to wound the sensitive conscience of 
S. Aloysius, and to co-operate with the grace of God. On 
another occasion a fellow student in his room wished to write 
a letter, and as he found he had no paper he asked our Saint 
to lend him half a sheet. But, in obedience to a rule which 
forbids to lend or give anything to another, he made no answer 
as though he had not heard the request, but immediately left 
the room and went to ask leave of the superior to give the 
other what he wanted, and then returning to his room said 
politely to his companion: "I think you asked for some paper," 
and gave it to him; and this happened more than once with 
others. I do not know how I can better explain his strict ob 
servance of rule than by stating that all the time he was in 
Religion, he never broke the rule of silence, nor that of speaking 
Latin during his studies, in which it is so easy to fail. 

The religious Poverty of S. Aloysius. 

jjj^aint Aloysius was most careful about religious poverty, 
in which he delighted as much as misers do in riches; 
and if he loved it so much when in the world as 
to dress badly, we can imagine how diligently he 
practised it in the Society, which he used to call the home of 
holy poverty. 

He had a horror of possessing anything as his own: he 
would have no clothes but what was common, no book that 
he could carry away with him, no watch nor case of any kind; 
and as for objects of piety, he would not keep any to give to 
others , nor did he like them to be given to him. He would not 
have a reliquary of any sort, nor a valuable rosary or one 

172 The Life of Chap. 

made of rare material, or any pictures of his own, but he used 
those he found in his room. At most he had a print of S. 
Catherine, Virgin and Martyr, on whose feast he entered Reli 
gion, and one of S. Thomas of Aquin whose works he was 
studying, and these he had been obliged to accept from others, 
with leave of superiors. S. Aloysius would not even keep pic 
tures as book-markers in his Breviary when in the Noviciate, nor 
in his little Office of our Lady at the College, as so many 
do. Not a few persons tried to induce him to accept articles 
of devotion and almost forced him to do so, and even asked 
leave from superiors to give them to him. But when he could 
do so, he declined them and if he took them that he might 
not give offence, he carried them to his superior, and asked 
leave to give them away, which he did at the first opportunity. 

His whole delight was to possess nothing, to desire nothing, 
and to be detached from all things. When winter or summer 
clothing was given him, he never said it was too long, or too 
short, or too light. When asked by the tailor if it fitted, he 
always used to answer: "It seems to me to fit very well." He 
was delighted to have the worst things, and when he could 
choose he always took the worst. 

He interpreted that Rule of our Society which teaches 
that every one must be convinced that the worst things in the 
house will be given to him for his greater profit and advan 
cement, by saying, that as a beggar when he asks an alms 
does not think of expecting the best, but rather the worst clothing 
and the most ragged in the house, and the same with other 
things, so we, if we are truly poor, should be persuaded that 
the worst ought to be given to us. This word "persuaded" he 
would say, is so strong that it means we are to believe for 
certain that it will be so, and that this is the right thing. 

Through his love of poverty he often told his confessor 
that as a special benefit and privilege granted him by God, 
the worst things had fallen to his share. He lived in religion 
as if he had really been a poor beggar received out of com 
passion, and he took everything given to him as an alms. When 
at table, if any dish seemed to him likely to injure his health, 
he abstained from it, and as he would not have any dish sub 
stituted for it, he endeavoured to prevent the servers from 
noticing that he let it pass. 

XVI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 173 

His purity and candour, his penances and mortifications. 

f the chastity of S. Aloysius, we need only say, that 
he always preserved the precious gift of Virginity in 
soul and body in all the perfection that has been 
related in the 2 nd Chapter of the Part I. In his 
speech and conversation he was perfectly truthful and straight 
forward, full of openness and frankness. Every one knew that 
"yes" with him meant "yes", and "no" meant "no", without any 
fear of equivocation or deceit. He used to say that the duplicity, 
dissimulation , deceit and equivocations so common in word and 
deed in the world are the ruin of human society, and in religion 
the poison of religious simplicity, and the pest of the young: 
and that such defects never could exist with the true reli 
gious spirit. 

As for mortification, so great was the inclination of S. 
Aloysius for bodily penances , that if his superiors had not re 
strained him, he might easily have shortened his life, for his 
fervour carried him beyond his strength. To some who seemed 
to wonder that he had no scruple of asking leave so incessantly 
for penances, considering his weak health, he would answer 
that as he knew his want of bodily health, and yet felt urged 
interiorly to practices of penance, it seemed to him that his 
superior who knew everything would only allow him what it was 
God s will that he should do, and would refuse all the rest. 

The Saint added that sometimes he made requests which 
he knew would not be granted: for as he could not do all he 
desired, he wished at least to offer this his desire to God and 
to make a proposal to his superiors, which could not fail in 
many ways to be of gain to him, on many counts. Sometimes 
it would be a cause of humiliation, as others would be astonish 
ed that he could ask for such things, and so conclude that he 
did not, in this matter, know himself. It was sometimes God s 
will however that things should be allowed him which amazed 
every body. 

Some one asked him one day very seriously how it was 
possible that possessing good judgment, he should despise the 

174 The Life of Chap> 

advice of so many holy and wise Fathers, who had often ex 
horted him to lay aside the great severity of his penances and 
the intense attention of his mind to spiritual things. S. Aloysius 
answered: "Two kinds of persons give me this advice: of them 
some lead so holy and perfect a life , that I see in them nothing 
but what is deserving of imitation, and often it occurs to me that 
I will follow their advice; but as I afterwards notice that they 
do not follow that advice in their own regard, I have judged 
it better to follow their example, than the counsel which they 
give me through charity and compassion. There are others who 
themselves practise the advice which they give me, and are not 
devoted to these penances: but I prefer to follow the example 
of the first, rather than the advice of the second." Another 
reason he gave was that he had great doubt that nature, without 
the practice of mortification and penance, could long continue in 
a good state, but that by degrees it would fall back into its old con 
dition and lose the habit of suffering acquired in so many years. 
S. Aloysius used to tell me and others that he was a 
crooked piece of iron, and had entered religious life to be 
straightened with the hammer of mortification and of penance. 
When he heard others say that perfection consists in the in 
terior, and that the will, rather than the body, must be scourged, 
he would reply: "Do the one without omitting the other"; for 
the two must be united, as has always been the practice of 
the ancient saints and the first Fathers of our Society. Our holy 
Father, S. Ignatius, as we read in his Life, was greatly given 
to penance and treated his body with much severity. And in 
the Constitutions he has left on record that there are no fixed 
watchings, fasts, disciplines, prayers or penances prescribed to 
the professed or graduates of the Society because it is supposed 
that they will be so perfect and so given to these things, that 
they should require the bridle rather than the spur, whenever 
they know that bodily penances do not interfere with the holy 
actions of the soul. 

The time for these penances, he added, is when we are 
young and strong; for with old age come infirmities which prevent 
us from performing them. The saints towards the end of their 
lives, and when old, lessened their corporal penances in proportion 
as they were so much more given to exercises of the mind, 
though they never entirely omitted them. 

XVI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 175 

When his superior refused some penance to S. Aloysius, he 
endeavoured to make up for it by some other spiritual work, 
reading a chapter of a Kempis, or visiting the Blessed Sacrament. 
Whether he was standing, walking, or sitting he always found 
some means of practising mortification. When hair-shirts, 
disciplines, and extraordinary fasts were forbidden him, he tried 

Interior of the Church of the "Gesu" at Rome. 
(See P. II, ch. 4, 6.) 

to find out penances to which his superiors would not object and 
which could not hurt him, as for instance to give the Tones, 
practice in preaching which is made before the others, in Spanish, 
imagining that this would make every one play the fool with him, 
and this was granted. 

Enough has been said of his penances , which he so highly 
valued, and employed with so little regard to his health, that 

176 The Life of Chap. 

some said they feared he would have some scruple at the hour 
of death for treating his body so ill, and that he might have to 
do penance in purgatory for his indiscretion. To this he gave 
an answer in his last sickness, which will be recorded in its 
proper place. 

He did not need to mortify his passions very diligently, 
for he had done it already so thoroughly, that he seemed to 
be without any passions at all. But S. Aloysius used diligence 
in examining all that passed in his soul, and when he found 
that he had committed any fault, he did not grieve about it too 
much, but at once humbled himself before God and begged 
pardon from the Divine Mercy, resolving to confess it, and then 
troubled himself about it no more. This method he had learned 
from his Master of Novices, who used to say, that when we sin, 
the best remedy and that most pleasing to God and hateful to 
the devil, is to humble ourselves at once before God, and then 
raising our heart to Him, to say: "O Lord, you see how weak 
and miserable I am, and how easily I fall. Pardon me, o Lord, 
and grant me grace not to slip again"; and after having made 
an act of that kind to remain tranquil. 

This was the practice of S. Aloysius, who used to say, to 
grieve excessively may be a sign of a want of self-knowledge, for 
he who knows himself is aware that his garden is fruitful in 
weeds and thorns. His great care was to find out the origin of 
his thoughts and desires, in order to see if there was any fault 
therein, and he toiled until he found out the truth so as to 
be able to confess it. His confessions were clear, brief and 
without scruples. His confessor, Father Robert Bellarmine, re 
lated of the Saint that he could say with as much clearness and 
distinctness how far a thought, desire or action had gone, as 
if he had seen it with his bodily eyes , so great was his interior 
light and self knowledge. 

He had a great desire to be publicly reprimanded, and 
gave his superiors a list of his defects for this purpose, but 
as he found that what he noted as defects were considered 
virtues , and that he received praise instead of blame , he resolved 
not to ask again for such rebukes, as he found them rather a 
loss than a gain. 

XVII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 177 


The great esteem in which S. Aloysius held the Spiritual 
Exercises of S. Ignatius. 

dnt Aloysius valued greatly the Spiritual Exercises 
of our Holy Father, S. Ignatius, not only as a most 
efficacious means of converting sinners to a good 
life, but also of reviving fervour and spirituality in 
religious persons. Every year during vacation time, he asked 
for a week of retirement that he might make the Exercises. 

As they are divided into four weeks, he had composed 
some Latin sentences suited to the subjects meditated upon, and 
to the end put before us in each week, but as his writings were 
taken away after his death, I have only been able to find a few 
which he noted down for the first week. They are as follows. 

"For the Exercises of the first Week. The judgments of 
God are inscrutable, who knows whether He has yet pardoned 
my sins in the world? 

The pillars of heaven have fallen and been broken to pieces, 
who can promise me perseverance? 

The world is now in the depth of malice. Who shall 
appease the anger of the all powerful God? 

The greater number of religious and of ecclesiastics forget 
their vocation: How will God continue to bear so great a loss 
to His kingdom? 

The faithful all their lives by their tepidity deprive God of 
His glory: who shall restore it? 

Woe to seculars, who defer penance until death is at hand. 
Woe also to Religious who have slumbered until the last hour. 

By these considerations is sluggishness to be shaken off, 
and our resolution renewed to do penance, to serve God faithfully 
and constantly. 

True repentance is awakened by deep grief for the contempt 
of so loving a God, who has been outraged by me. 

This sorrow makes me grieve so deeply for mortal sins, that 
it excites great compunction even for all venial sins. 

178 The Life of Chap. 

Jt goes so far, that not only does it acknowledge and 
venerate God s mercy in pardoning sins, but for the honour of 
Divine justice, it most earnestly desires to suffer all the punish 
ment justly due to our sins. 

God infuses into the hearts of the well-disposed this great 
hatred of self by which the resolution of severely punishing 
ourselves by external penances is excited and strengthened." 

S. Aloysius love of God and His neighbour. 

aint Aloysius greatly loved God, and whenever He was 
spoken of in his presence, his emotion was visible in 
his countenance, and this at all times and everywhere. 
His charity for his neighbour was remarkable. He 
loved to serve the sick in the hospitals, and when he went there 
he made their beds , brought them their food, washed their feet, 
swept their rooms, and urged them to be patient and to go to 
confession. He had obtained a general leave to visit the sick 
at home ; arid no one was more attentive or more diligent in ful 
filling this office of charity to all. Not only did he visit and console 
them, but when he was forbidden to study, he went to help the 
Infirmarian to clean the knives and spoons, and do anything in 
his power to help the sick. The body was not the only object 
of his care, he tried to assist souls, for whose salvation he had a 
great zeal. If his superiors had willed it, he would have gone 
to the Indies to convert the heathen, and he had a special 
desire for this when in the world as well as in religious life. 

Though, during his studies he had not much intercourse 
with his neighbour, which is rather the office of the priests who 
are employed in aiding souls by confessions, preaching and 
exhortations, he endeavoured as far as he could to benefit his 
brethren and companions and he used every means to this effect, 
with the prudence God had bestowed on him. Besides the ex 
ample which he gave to all by his blameless life, he asked leave 
of the Father Rector to speak on spiritual subjects during re 
creation, morning and evening, not to prevent idle and useless 

XVIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 179 

conversation, which would not be tolerated, but instead of dis 
cussions on indifferent matters and on literature. Having obtained 
his wish, he consulted the Prefect of spiritual things about it, 
and asked him to assist him. This Spiritual Father was Jerome 
Ubaldini, formerly a Roman Prelate, who entered the Society 
and lived and died there holily. Aloysius alstj commended the 
matter to God. He then chose out a few young religious who 
seemed to him well fitted for the end he had in view, and told 
them that he wished sometimes to be with them at recreation 
that they might speak of God and holy things. He also daily 

P. Vincenzo Bruno, S. J. 

Rector of the Roman College at the time of S. Aloysius. 

After an oil painting in the Gregorian University at Rome. 

(See P. II, ch. 8, 12, 24, 30, and note 8.) 

read a spiritual book for half an hour, that he might have a 
subject to speak upon. At last, together with his companions, 
he made a beginning of this work, and when he was with others 
younger than himself, he was the first to introduce holy con 
versation, and the others joined in with great delight, the more 
so as they drew great profit from all he said. With priests and 
with his seniors, he used to propose some spiritual difficulty, 
and ask them for their opinion, out of a desire to learn; and 
so in this way he succeeded also in speaking of the things of 
God. In fact, as they, and especially superiors, knew he cared 
for no other conversation, out of a desire to please him, they 
would change the subject as soon as they saw him drawing 


The Life of 


near. AVhen he found himself with his equals, or with those 
with whom he had made a previous agreement, or even with 
others, he would boldly introduce some devout subject, and, 
as all were good religious, anxious for their individual spiritual 
profit, they willingly carried it on. 

When a new Brother arrived from the noviceship or any 
other place for his studies, our Saint himself, or through some 
one who had been the new comer s fellow novice and companion, 
strove to help him to keep up the good spirit and fervour which 
he brought from the noviciate. 

He used to get with him at recreation, as soon as ever he 
came, and he would tell him boldly that if he himself wished to 
preserve and increase his devotion, he would find plenty to help 
him; and until he should come to know them from personal 
experience, Aloysius would mention four or five of the most 
fervent and spiritual minded of the scholastics. Our Saint would 
then tell these to take opportunities to talk with the new comer, 
and in this way his plan always succeeded. If he knew of 
anyone in the College who needed spiritual help, he was ingenious 
in his ways of gaining his affection; and then for several days 
or weeks, midday and evening, he would go with him in the 
recreation time, not caring what others might say about it. 
AVhen he thought he saw he had got him to show some signs 
of that virtue and perfection which he desired for him, he with 
drew a little from such particular acquaintance, telling him that 
for the edification of all it was better to be more general in 
his conversation. He advised him to choose good companions, 
named some in particular, and then went and asked these to 
talk with him, for he knew he wished to do right. Thus when 
left by one, he was supported by another. By all this trouble 
and pains, Aloysius helped many in a few weeks and kindled 
fire even in the coldest hearts. 

Such was the fervour and devotion throughout the whole 
Roman College, that it was a real blessing from God. There 
were more than two hundred persons in the College at that 
time, and I remember many times during the summer, looking 
with admiration on the various groups of two, three, or four, 
scattered about the garden and the Loggie covered galleries, 
or during the hour of recreation; and as I knew them all, I was 
certain that there was not one group among them all, in 

XVIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. jgi 

which they were not talking of God. The recreation therefore 
was like a spiritual conference, from which many owned that 
they drew not less fruit, and indeed often much more, than 
from prayer itself. Frequently they told one another with great 
simplicity, the various holy sentiments which God gave them in 
their meditation, and so one shared in the lights of the others. All 
this was done with so much sweetness and delight, that if by 
any accident, they could not have had their usual holy con 
versation at recreation, they would have gone back to their 
rooms wearied and disgusted. 

It was the same in their walks together outside the College 
and on their recreation days at the "villa"; it seemed as if they 
could have no greater delight or pleasure than in speaking of 
God and heavenly things. During the vacation in September 
and October, after the studies had ceased, the young men were 
sent from the Roman College to Frascati, for some days, to 
recover from their fatigue. They took with them, with the per 
mission of their superiors, one the works of Gerson, another 
the life of S. Francis, and others the lives of S. Catherine of 
Siena and of S. Ignatius. Some would read the Chronicles of 
S. Dominic, others those of S. Francis, or the Confessions and 
Soliloquies of S. Augustine, or the Explanation of the Canticle by 
S. Bernard. Some who were far advanced in the spiritual life 
would take great delight in the life of S. Catherine of Genoa, 
others who were inclined to self contempt in those of Blessed 
Giacopone and John Colombino. All of them were so full of 
these holy books and other like works, that they would go out 
in twos and threes, morning and evening, to walk on the hills 
and would tell each other of what they had read. Sometimes 
ten or twelve would come together among the glades and woods, 
and then they would join in spiritual conferences with such 
sweetness and devotion, such joy and fervour, that they seemed 
like angels from Heaven. In this way one was an example and a 
spur to another in the way of God; and the soul was as much 
refreshed as the body. The Fathers and lay Brothers of the 
Society who were there at the time saw and delighted in all 
this. They are now dispersed over different parts of the world 
to bring forth fruit in the Lord s vineyard. And since the glory 
of the whole was due to S. Aloysius, as the chief mover in it, all 
devoutly loved and admired him. They sought after him that they 

Saint Aloysius. 


!82 The Life of Chap, 

might speak with him and hear him talk; and when they failed 
to do so they were troubled, like people who are shut out from 
some holy thing which is very desirable for their perfection and 
salvation. He did not always keep the bow bent, without 
ever relaxing it, and this made him still more pleasing to all. 
Prudently and wisely he suited himself to times, places and 
persons with sweetness of soul. Although he was grave in his 
actions, in his conversation he was .never gloomy nor tiresome, 
but sweet, gracious and affable with everyone. He often would 
repeat some clever and witty saying, or tell some little example 
or story to amuse them, within the limits of religious modesty. 
Such was the life led by S. Aloysius, during the first two years 
and a half that he spent at the Roman College, and such were 
the effects which it produced. 


S. Aloysius is sent to reconcile his brother the Marquis 
with the Duke of Mantua. 


on Horace Gonzaga, lord of Solferino, died at Mantua, 
and his fief came to Rodolph Gonzaga, his nephew, 
as his lawful successor. The news of the death reached 
the Marquis Rodolph, S. Aloysius younger brother, 
when he was in the church at Castiglione, listening to a sermon. 
He knew that the fief belonged to him, for Horace had left no 
sons. As soon as he left the church he had the drum beat 
and two hours after, with six hundred retainers, he marched 
to take possession of the castle. 

When William Duke of Mantua heard this, he sent to tell 
the Marquis that Don Horace had by his will left the fief to 
himself, and that he must deliver it up and leave the castle. The 
Marquis answered that he was his Highness servant, but that as 
the fief was a free imperial one, his uncle, Don Horace, could 
not leave it by will or deprive him of it, as it was his by right 
of succession; this it was that had made him take possession, 
and he should retain it. It seemed to the Duke a strong pro 
ceeding that the Marquis should take the law into his own hands 

XIX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 183 

and decide the matter for himself. He thought he was bound in 
honour to defend the justice of the will, and accordingly put 
into .the field at once a large body of infantry and cavalry. 
Afterwards however, the Duke and the Marquis agreed that the 
Emperor, as the supreme judge, should decide the strife, and 
they disbanded their forces. But one of the Duke s captains 
thinking that until the affair was settled, it was to his master s 
honour to hold possession of the fief, suddenly scaled the walls 
and took possession of the castle. 

On this, the Dowager Marchioness of Castiglione, Martha, 
left the Marquis Rodolph in charge of Castiglione, and went to 

P. Giovanni Pescatore, S. J. 

Novice Master of S. Aloysius. 

After an oil painting in the Gregorian University at Rome. 
(See P. II, ch. 9, 10, 30.) 

Prague, taking her three little sons with her. The eldest was 
the future Marquis Francis, who was then only nine years old; 
yet he recited a long speech to the Emperor, with so much 
grace, that he gained the favour of his Majesty who asked the 
Marchioness for him that he might be his page, and she left 
him with him. 

His Majesty sent an imperial commissary to take possession 
of Solferino, in his name, until he decided who was to have 
it. The cause was examined, and the sentence given, that the 
fief should come to the nearest relative, the Marquis Rodolph. 
But Satan by means of evil reports, fanned the fire, and worked 

!8 4 The Life of Chap, 

in such a way, that just as these two relations had been strong 
friends, so now their hatred became intense. Discourtesies and 
suspicions so increased and multiplied, that the question of 
Solferino, which was being arranged by the law, became from 
this time the least source of discord between them. 

So many charges were brought against Rodolph, that some 
terrible violence was feared. Many people of very high positions, 
amongst others the Archduke Ferdinand, brother to the Emperor 
Maximilian, endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation, but 
they could effect nothing. Eleanor of Austria, mother of Duke 
Vincent, and the Marchioness Martha, mother of the Marquis 
Rodolph, both of whom were anxious for peace and to avoid 
scandal, saw at last that matters had come to a very serious 
pass. It occurred to both of them, that the only chance of 
making peace was through S. Aloysius, as he was much be 
loved by the Duke, and had great power over his brother, on 
account of his having renounced his position in his favour. So 
without their sons knowledge, they applied to him. He was in 
Rome, and at first was not inclined to throw himself into the 
midst of these intrigues, for fear of losing the peace he was 
enjoying, and also not to give up the observance of his regular 
life. But later on, when he had commended the affair to God 
and got his companions to do the same, he asked advice of 
his confessor, Father Robert Bellarmine, who, after he had 
prayed about it, said to him simply: "Aloysius, go, for I con 
sider that it is for the service of God." He received these words 
as an oracle. He determined to do whatever the Father General 
should order, and prepared himself by the exercise of holy in 

Meanwhile the Archduchess Eleanor had heard of S. Aloy 
sius first objections. But because she saw that the grave diffi 
culties which she feared, could only be prevented, under God, 
by the means of Aloysius, and that an act of charity such as 
reconciling his relatives, could not be contrary to any regular 
observance whatsoever, she urged his superiors to send him to 
Mantua. This they did, as we read in the life of this lady. 

S. Aloysius had studied Theology for two years, and he 
was for the moment at Frascati for the September vacations, 
when Father Bellarmine went there, to carry the orders of the 
Father General. They were that our Saint should return to Rome 

XIX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 185 

in order to go as soon as possible to Mantua and Castiglione. 
Aloysius took only about a quarter of an hour to get ready, 
and to leave. All of us who were there were very sorry to be 
for so many months deprived of his company and of the 
benefit of his holy example. AVe accompanied him as far as a 
vineyard belonging to -the College, and in coming back, Father 
Bellarmine began to speak with great affection of the young 

College del Gesu vecchio, which once belonged to the Jesuits at Naples, 

in which S. Aloysius lived for seven months. 
(See P. II, ch. 10.) 

man s virtues and to praise his sanctity, telling us various things 
which moved us to devotion; in particular, he said, that he 
believed that he was confirmed in grace. He added besides, 
that he knew no better way of imagining what the life of S. 
Thomas of Aquin might have been when he was a young man, 
than by looking at the life led by S. Aloysius. These words 
were remarked by myself and others, who have since then form 
ally deposed to them in authentic processes. . 

1 86 The Life of Chap. 

AVhen S. Aloysius reached Rome and received the order 
from the Father General to depart, he went first to take leave 
of the Cardinals, his relatives, and whilst he was with the Car 
dinal della Rovere, he fainted through the extreme weakness of 
his head and emaciation of his body. They put him on the 
Cardinal s bed, who reproved him for his great austerities and 
mortification, and exhorted him to take more care to preserve 
his life. The Saint answered that he did not even do as much 
penance as he ought to do. 

The lay Brother James Borlasco was given to S. Aloysius 
as a companion. He was a very prudent man and his superiors 
strongly recommended to him the care of S. Aloysius health, 
and they told our Saint, in matters of health, to be governed 
by his companion. Father Lewis Corbinelli, a worthy man and 
a great benefactor to the Roman College, who knew how much 
S. Aloysius suffered in his head, did all he could to make him 
take an umbrella with him, but he would not consent to this, 
nor to wear gloves, which in the Society he never wore in travelling 
on horseback either in the summer or in the winter, although 
his fingers and hands were swelled and cut by the cold. Some 
rebuked him for not wearing gloves, and others provided him 
with them. He did not however condemn priests for wearing 
them, since they have reason to keep their hands clean and in 
good order, as they have to say Holy Mass. The morning when 
he was to set out, they brought him a pair of boots, said to have 
belonged to some great personage, and when he was going to 
put them on some one said: "These boots belonged to Signer 
So and So." S. Aloysius heard this, and showed he was not 
pleased, as he feared they had been given to him on that ac 
count; and whilst putting them on he looked at them again and 
again, to see if he could find some excuse for leaving them 
behind. His companion perceiving this, said to him: "What is 
the matter with these boots, do they not fit you?" As he 
made no answer, he added: "Tet me take these away; and 
I will go for a pair that will suit you." So he took them 
to a room where they kept harness and other such things, 
and without changing them, took them back again, saying: 
"Try these on, perhaps they will do." As the Saint did not 
recognize them, he put them on and said: "It seems to me 
that these fit me well." 


XIX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

S. Aloysius left Rome on September 12, 


i 5 89, with 

Father Bernardine Medici, his great friend, who was going to 
Milan to teach Holy Scripture. During the whole journey he 
never neglected his accustomed prayers, examens, litanies and 
devotions, and in the inns and on the road spoke only of pious 
and spiritual things. It was wonderful to see with what reverence 
and piety the coachmen received him, opening their whole hearts 

Church del Gesu vecchio, which used to belong to the Society of Jesus 
at Naples, 

which S. Aloysius visited daily during his stay in Naples. 
(See P. II, ch. 10.) 

to him,, never leaving his side, and showing a great devotion to 
his person; all of which is rarely seen in such people. In Sienna r 
he did not like certain special marks of affection, which ap 
peared to him to exceed the ordinary bounds of religious custom, 
and which proceeded either from respect for his position in the 
world, or from the particular affection one of the Fathers had 
for him. In the evening he would not allow his feet to be 
washed by that Father or by any of the others, as it was the 

1 88 The Life of Chap, 

custom in the Society to do to strangers who come to the 
colleges; and he told his companion that he did not like the 
special affection and all the ceremonies of that Father. Aloysius 
was delighted to see Florence again, the mother of his devotion 
and fervour. He left Father Bernardine Medici there, who was 
detained for a few days by his relatives, the Medici, and went 
on to Bologna. 

As soon as he arrived there, he was surrounded by the 
Fathers of the college, who had heard of his sanctity. At once 
he began to talk with them of the things of God. He stayed 
there one day, during which the Rector sent him out to see 
the city, with the sacristan, Brother John Angelo. On leaving 
the college he asked him to take him to some church or place 
of devotion only, for he did not care for anything else. After 
taking him to two or three churches of particular devotion, he 
brought him back to the house. 

When the travellers arrived at an inn between Bologna 
and Mantua, in the territory of Ferrara, the innkeeper gave 
them a room with only one bed and S. Aloysius said nothing. 
His companion drew the landlord aside and told him that they 
were religious and not therefore accustomed to sleep together 
and begged him to give them another bed. He answered that 
he would not, for he wanted the other beds for any gentlemen 
who might chance to come to his inn for the night. The com 
panion insisted and got angry. S. Aloysius who- heard all, bade 
him be quiet. He answered: "The landlord wants his beds for 
gentlemen, as if we were peasants; and yet some respect should 
be shown to you." S. Aloysius then with great calm, and 
serenity of countenance said to him: "Brother, do not be dis 
turbed, for you have no reason to be; we make profession of being 
poor. Well, if he treats us according to our profession, we 
cannot, we ought not to complain." As no others came that 
night, his companion got what he wanted. 

As soon as S. Aloysius arrived at Mantua, he went at once 
to see Eleanor of Austria. She was then very aged. The holy 
princess rejoiced greatly at seeing him again and embraced him 
with much affection. They then spent a little time talking to 
gether. From Mantua he gave notice to Marquis Rodolph of 
his arrival 13 , who instantly sent for him to go to Castiglione. 
Aloysius would not send on before hand to say that he was 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 189 

coming, but when he got to Castiglione with his companion and 
Father Antony Giunio, who by chance was passing there on his 
way to Brescia, he asked some one whom he met by chance to 
let the Marquis know that his brother had arrived. The man 
went through the streets spreading the news everywhere, so that 
many rushed to the windows and great numbers came out of 
their houses, 

S. Aloysius was received by all with extraordinary de 
votion and joy, the bells were rung as for a festival, and from 
the fortress a grand salvo of artillery was fired. The people 
went on their knees in the middle of the streets, as he passed 
by, so great was their esteem of his sanctity. But all these 
demonstrations filled S. Aloysius with confusion. The Marquis 
came out to the entrance of the Castle to meet him, and when 
the Saint left his carriage, one of the vassals trusting in the 
presence of S. Aloysius knelt before Rodolph to ask forgiveness 
for some fault or other. The Marquis told him that for love of 
Brother Aloysius he forgave him. Inside the Castle some of 
attendants and others, addressed him as "Most Illustrious, Most 
Excellent", as they had been accustomed to do before he 
became a religious. This grieved him, and made him blush. 
He did not find his mother at Castiglione, for she was at another 
place called S. Martino, twelve miles from there. He sent her 
a messenger, and the next day she returned to Castiglione with 
her two little sons, went to her own palace which was separate 
from and at some distance from that of the Marquis, and sent 
to let S. Aloysius know that she was there. He went with his 
companion at once to see her, and was received more as 
something consecrated to God, than as a son; for she did not 
venture to embrace and to kiss him, as maternal love would 
have dictated. But, allowing reverence to conquer love, she fell 
on her knees and with profound reverence bent down to the 
ground before him. Nor should this seem strange, for when 
he was in the world and still a child, she believed him to be 
a saint and used to call him her angel. 

190 The Life of Chap. 


His manner of living in Castiglione, and Mantua. 

1589 90. 

aint Aloysius remained with his mother the whole day, 
and whilst he was talking at great length with her 
on the affairs of the moment, he wished that his 
companion should be present. He however replied, 
that his presence would be a restraint upon the Marchioness, 
who would not be able to speak so freely with her son , and he 
took an opportunity to go away to say his rosary. On his return 
after some long time, he found both engaged in prayer. In 
the evening, when they had retired to their rooms, S. Aloysius 
asked him why he had gone away. He answered, that the 
Marchioness having asked the Father General to send her son 
to her from such a distance , he did not think it right to prevent 
her opening her soul with all freedom to him, and that if it 
had been any other lady but his mother, he would willingly 
have obeyed him by remaining. This reason satisfied S. Aloysius. 
He spent several days in Castiglione, to inform himself minutely 
of affairs and of the differences with the Duke of Mantua , and 
in that time , it is incredible how great was the edification which 
he gave in every place, at every time and on every opportunity. 
Although by order of his mother and brother, a carriage always 
followed him, he would never go anywhere but on foot, and in 
the streets the salutations were so continual that he was obliged 
to hold his biretta always in his hand. He treated everyone, ho 
matter who they were, with such humility, meekness and sub 
mission, that he might have been the very least among them. 
He would never receive any kind of service from strangers, 
but if he needed anything he would have recourse to his com 
panion, although he would not even accept any help from 
him, unless it were necessary, and were offered him and almost 
forced upon him. Nor even when he needed it would he ask 
for anything, but waited for Divine Providence to inspire others 
to help him. If his superiors had not forbidden it, he would 
have stayed at the Parish priest s house and not with his mother 

XX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 191 

or brother. During the whole time that he remained at Castiglione 
he showed the greatest reserve and would never ask for anything 
from his family. For instance , the cold of winter came on and 
he needed warmer clothing; but he would not allow his re 
latives to provide him with anything. He wrote to the Father 
Rector at Brescia, Father Laurence Terzi, who sent the ne 
cessary clothes for himself and his companion , but old ones, for 
S. Aloysius would have nothing new. The Marchioness endeav 
oured to make him take two Mantuan vests, one for himself, 
the other for his companion. As she could not succeed with 
him , for he said he would have none of those things which he had 
so willingly renounced, she besought his companion to make 
him take them. In the morning, when S. Aloysius was getting 
up, the Brother took one into his room, but S. Aloysius did 
not want to have it. "Take it", he said; "since your mother 
gives it to you as an alms for the love of God, and since you 
require it, I wish that you would accept it;" and he began to 
put it on him. S. Aloysius submitted without saying anything 
more , as it was offered him as an alms , and because his com 
panion, to whom he owed obedience in matters of health, 
ordered him to wear it. The linen which had been given to him 
at the Roman College was quite worn out, and he would not 
accept the small quantity which his mother out of devotion, had 
made herself for him, but gave orders that his old linen should 
be repaired. His companion could hardly induce him on the 
plea of necessity and of charity, to take even two shirts, one 
for each of them. 

He never gave orders to anyone in the house or outside, 
and he showed such respect to all, that he might have been 
a poor pilgrim to whom hospitality was given for the love of 
God. When he had to transact business with his brother the 
Marquis, he waited for an audience in the antechambers with 
others, and would not allow himself to be announced at once, 
lest he should cause inconvenience. At the Marquis table 
he allowed himself to be served like the others, without saying 
anything; but in his mother s house he allowed himself greater 
liberty, especially as her only wish was to please him. So to 
avoid having his glass filled by the servants , he had what he 
was to drink placed upon the table, as is the custom in the 

1 92 The Life of Chap. 

He was most abstemious, as was his custom, and paid no 
attention to what he eat or drank, for through his constant 
mortification he had nearly lost his sense of taste, and when 
his mother said to him, "Take this, Brother Aloysius, this is 
good," or, "this is better," he took it, thanked her, and left it 
untouched. He was in the habit of saying to his companion: 
"Oh! how well off we are in our houses. A little of our poor 
food supports me better than all these rich dishes." 

He would never allow himself to be helped in dressing or 
undressing by anyone, not even by his companion, and the 
first evening, he distinctly told some pages who had gone to 
his room, that he would not go to bed until they had left him. 
He had a seton in his left arm, which he looked after himself, 
without his companion s aid, so great was his modesty and his 
dislike of others doing what he believed he could do for him 
self. In his mother s house, and when he could, even in that 
of the Marquis, he made his own bed and enjoyed helping his 
companion to make his, although the servants earnestly endeav 
oured to forestall him. He took no pains about his health, nor 
troubled himself to preserve it, and never gave it a thought 
unless by the desire of his companion. He loved solitude very 
much, though he conversed willingly with his mother, as she was 
such a spiritual person, and he wished to give her pleasure. In 
the morning as soon as he was dressed, he made a long hour s 
meditation and heard mass. He recited the Divine Office every 
day and said his rosary, the latter often with his companion, 
one answering the other as in choir. When in the course of 
the day he could steal a little time, he would say to his com 
panion: "Brother, let us pray a little." Every evening he would 
spend three hours alone in his room, and before he went to 
bed he said the Litanies and made his examen of conscience. 

He went to confession to the Parish priest, and on feast 
days heard mass and communicated at the principal Church of 
the town, that of SS. Nazario and Celso; whither a large 
number of people went out of devotion to see him. They were 
full of sorrow at having lost so good a master. On the first 
festival which occurred, the church was so full of people, that 
he thought he would give a sermon to exhort them all to live 
in the fear of God and to frequent the Sacraments. But he did 
not do so, thinking it better to begin with those of his own 

XX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 193 

house and to let them be the first to give good example. He 
never spoke harshly to his companion nor showed displeasure 
at anything he did. In conversation with him he yielded to his 
opinion, and brought his understanding to submit with ease to 
his companion s judgment and to obey him in all things relating 
to his health. The Brother admired his sanctity, and rejoiced 
to see such great straightforwardness and candour in all things, 

S. Aloysius room, now turned into a Chapel, 

in the College del Gesu vecchio at Naples, which used to belong to the Jesuits. 
(See P. II, ch. 10.) 

and that, far from caring for the things of this world, he des 
pised them, and was absolutely dead to all its honours. At 
this time they made several journeys together to Brescia, Man 
tua and other places to which business matters called them. On 
the way he would avail himself of visible things to increase his 
union with God, and he used to speak at great length with his 
companion on Divine things. When his companion got tired of 


J ife of ( hap. 

r to spr;ik of something rise, In 1 . 

this ;md wished him to stop 

would not iillow himself to be turned away from the subject. 

I lc went one day to transact some business with his uncle, 
Alphonsus Gonzaga, lord of Castel Goffredo, whose heir he would 
have been, if lie had not become a religious. The- Marquis, his 
brother, had appointed some servants to accompany him on the 
journey. He did not wish for them, but as he could not refuse 
him to his face, he- waited till he was outside Castiglione and 
then sent them all back. The coachman lost his way and 
reached Castel Goffredo 1 1 two hours after sundown, when the 
gates were already closed. As it was a fortress, and it was 
not the custom to open the gates at such an hour, they were 
obliged to tell the sentinels who they were, and why they had 
come, and then to wait till all had been reported to the lord 
of the castle. After sometime the gales were opened and tin- 
drawbridge lowered, and many gentlemen of the prince appeared 
with lighted torches, whilst at the entrance a large company of 
soldiers lined both sides of the way, from the gate to the pa 
lace. I lis uncle came out to meet Aloysius and received him 
with extreme joy and great honour. Hi- accompanied him to 
some apartments royally furnished and provided with magnificent 
beds, and left him to take his rest. Poor S. Aloysius on being 
received with so great honour and lodged in such splendid 
rooms turned to his companion and said: "Oh, Brother, God 
help us this night! What have we come to, because- of our 
sins?. Look at these rooms, at these- beds! Mow much better 
should we not be in the bare rooms of our houses and in our 
poor beds, than in the midst of so many comforts and so much 
honour!" It seemed to him years before he could get free 
and go away, so greatly did he hate to see himself well treated. 

The following dav he returned to Castiglione, and as In- 
had already fully informed himself of the affairs there, he went 
on to Mantua to treat with the Duke. During the lew weeks 
he spent in the College of tin- Society in that city, hi- gave so 
great an impression of his sanctity, that the Fathers who were. 
there at. the time used to relate wonderful things of his great 
modesty, humility, contempt of self and of honour, his reverence. 
for others and his wonderful good sense in all he- did, joined 
with simplicity and great, straightforwardness in conversation. 
He lived with his mind so continually raised to God, and in so 

XXI. S. Aloysius Gonzagn. II. 195 

close a union with His E)ivine Majesty, that ho never said or 
did anything without the consciousness of the Divine Presence. 
He was completely abstracted from all corporeal things, to such 
a degree that he appeared to the Fathers a living example of 
every virtue, and the sight of him alone, excited them to an 
increase in devotion. They used to say that so great a sanctity 
shone forth in his face, that he was a perfect likeness of S. 
Charles Borromeo , whom he also somewhat resembled in his 
features. Father Prosper Malavolta who was received into the 
Society by S. Ignatius, our Founder and General, was at that 
time Rector of the College of Mantua. After the example of 
S. Pacomius the Abbot, who made his novice disciple give an 
exhortation to his monks, Father Prosper ordered S. Aloysius 
one Friday to give a discourse to the Fathers of the College, 
which in the Society is only done by Superiors and some of 
the oldest and gravest Fathers, and never by one who is not a 
priest. But Father Rector on account of the great holiness and 
prudence of this young man judged it well to make this ex 
ception. Although full of confusion, S. Aloysius complied with 
this order and made a discourse upon fraternal charity, according 
to the words of our Lord: "This is my commandment, that 
you love one another as I have loved you." He spoke with so 
much energy and fervour that all were rilled with consolation. 

S. Aloysius succeeds completely in the family affairs. 


jj/aint Aloysius began his negotiations with the Duke 
of Mantua. But before treating with men, lie had 
recourse to the King of Heaven, who holds in His 
Hand the hearts of all men, and he sought from His 
Divine Majesty a successful arrangement by means of prayer. 
This we know from the accounts of authentic witnesses, and it is 
clearly seen from the result. For in the first interview he had 
with the Duke, when he spoke with him for an hour and a 
half, he concluded the whole matter, settled all the differences 
and obtained all that he wished and asked for. The Duke was 
very indignant at the treatment he had received from the Marquis, 

196 The Life of Chap. 

and as S. Aloysius was more nearly related to the Marquis than 
to Duke William, he might humanly speaking be suspected of 
partiality. Nor were reasons wanting for refusing what he asked, 
as the Duke had already refused the princes and noblemen 
who had endeavoured to reconcile them. Nevertheless he saw 
S. Aloysius had a mind so upright and so pure an intention, 
that he was overcome and could refuse him nothing, but had 
such confidence in his goodness and justice that he declared 
himself ready to do whatever he wished. There were some who 
sought to undo, or at least to delay, this reconciliation, which 
was so great a service to God. One person especially of great 
authority, suggested to the Duke that since he was resolved 
upon this point, he should not grant it to S. Aloysius prayer 
alone, but should defer it so as to please those princes also, 
who had been the first to speak to him about it. The Duke 
replied to the astonishment of all, that he wished to finish the 
matter at once, since what he did, he did solely to please Brother 
Aloysius and he would never have done it for anyone else. 

S. Aloysius got Tullius Petrozzari 15 to put down in writing 
all the heads of complaint said to exist against the Marquis, 
and took the paper with him to Castiglione. His brother cleared 
himself of all, and replied to each, point by point, to the satis 
faction of the Duke and the other noblemen. S. Aloysius 
returned to Mantua with the answer. 

As Duke William was fully appeased, Aloysius went again to 
Castiglione, and brought his brother to the Duke, who received 
him with great friendliness, kept him to dine with him, and for 
the remainder of the day, that he might rest after the journey. 
His Highness strongly urged S. Aloysius also to stay and dine 
with them; but he would by no means be induced to accept the 
invitation, and went off to the College of the Society. And when 
he suggested to the Marquis that his brother must at least return 
to go with them to the play, S. Aloysius smiled and said that 
his companion would not approve of it. The Duke restored 
and made over to the Marquis the castle and command of 
Solferino, which from that time, the brothers and heirs of S. 
Aloysius have always held. 

As all these matters were now settled to the edification 
and great surprise of every one, who thought it would be im 
possible to come to any terms, S. Aloysius set to work to put 



i his brother the Marquis Rodolph.") 

rved in the College of the Virgins of Jesus" at Castiglione). 


e gli pro- 
cose, che 
gli ricer- 
mi deve 
ssi a Ro 
il giorno 
endola io 
) che non 
uo citius 
,non sono 
so ezian- 
,ie di quel 
,er fermo, 
1 a quanto 
\. Sua Di- 
; te grazie 


e questo 
la conse- 
>e di sco- 
. piu che 
ma della 
eriori di 


Pax Christi. 

have heard my proposition which is so much the 
\y-> easier, as, of two things which I required from you 
after my leaving Milan, I now only bind you to one, 
and this you owe me, not as a brother only, but as a 
Christian. In conformity with what I heard from you I 
wrote to Rome about my return which will take place 
shortly; though I do not know the day, I know it will 
be soon. And as I am to see you before you go to Germany, 
in case you take the more holy resolution, I think this 
will be the sooner the better. Make haste therefore for 
you may be certain that I will keep my promise as far 
as I can. But to do what is your duty, I say again, do 
not fail, as I feel certain you will not; therefore com 
mending you as earnestly as I can to God and asking 
for you, from His Divine Majesty every happiness and 
abundance of His holy graces, I conclude. 
Milan, Feb. 9 th 1590. 

Your most affectionate Brother 

in Our Lord, 
Aloysius Gonzaga 

I desire in every way that we should be friends in 
the Lord, but from Him I have to look for the neces 
sary strength to obtain this, even though by religious 
violence. And remember that of two things which you 
promised me, to unveil the altar, and to send her away 
from your house, I only bind you to one, and this too 
after your return from Germany. Your departure has to 
take place before mine to Rome which will be regulated 
by my superiors there, and they have informed me that 
it will be very shortly. 

ort and vague, it will be observed that Aloysius insists upon two things in 
aote 1 6). In the first place Rodolph is to reveal the secret, for this is what is 
lis case it was the secret marriage with Helen Aliprandi. Secondly, he was to 
e marriage. 

f getting out of the difficulty ; Rodolph could either remain at Castiglione*, and 
ne to do so for him, and in the letter in question Aloysius calls this a //* 
r to him ; or if that was to ask too much of him, he could go to Germany, rand 
through someone else. A choice of plans seems to be hinted at in the letter o: 
nettere in esecuzione uno di quei partili, che ho esposto a monsignor I Archiprete. 
seems that the messenger referred to at the commencement of the letter, d?.ted 

conveyed it to Rodolph. 

1 had insisted in the strongest- possible manner upon *he fulfilment of the pir>- 
yet, knowing human nature and perceiving the great difficulty of the case he 
t a messenger to Rodolph. At all events we must assume this, for Aloysius says 
t Rodolph will have heard of the proposals now laid before him. Now what 

XXI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 197 

an end to a public scandal, of which his brother the Marquis 
was the cause 16 . He had fallen in love with a young lady of 
Castiglione, of honourable birth but by no means his equal 
in rank. She was an only child, and her father was head of 
the Marquis mint and very rich. It was said that he had pro 
perty to the value of more than a hundred thousand scudi, which 
would all be left to his daughter. 

Church of S. Ignatius, Rome, 

in which S. Aloysius is buried. 

(See P. II, note 34.) 

One day when she chanced to be out walking, the Marquis 
caused her to be thrust into a close carriage, and carried off to 
one of his country houses. While .mad and youthful love, and 
his absolute power and authority, prompted nim to commit this 
crime, on the other hand his fear of God, and his good bringing 
up had so much weight with him, that he made up his mind 
not to retain the lady against his conscience and with offence 
of God, but to take her for his lawful wife. He preferred to do 

Saint Aloysius. 

I9 8 The Life of Chap, 

himself and his noble house an injury, rather than to live in sin 
and out of favour with Heaven. Accordingly he married her 
secretly, in the presence only of the archpriest, who was his own 
parish priest, and of the necessary witnesses. He had obtained 
before hand the license of the bishop who gave the dispensation 
according to the usual form on the twenty fifth of October, i 588. 
The lady remained with him as his wife. 

The Marquis reason for keeping his marriage secret was, 
that his mother should not know of it, and still less Prince 
Alphonsus Gonzaga, his uncle, his father s brother. The Marquis 
was to succeed to his uncle s States of Castel Goffredo, as he had 
no male children, and he feared that he would be indignant 
with him for marrying someone else instead of his own and only 
daughter. She was of an age to marry, and her father intended 
with the Pope s dispensation to bestow her upon the Marquis, 
that by this union she might continue to enjoy the States she 
had been accustomed in his lifetime to regard as her own. 

The marriage had taken place a year before S. Aloysius 
came to Castiglione, but as it had always been kept secret, 
everyone believed that the lady was not his lawful wife. From 
this has arisen the error of some authors, who, as they were not 
rightly informed of the fact, have stated the contrary, by saying 
that S. Aloysius induced the Marquis to marry this lady. This 
is entirely false and a manifest wrong to this worthy woman, 
for, as has been already said, the Marquis had lawfully though 
secretly, for the reasons mentioned above, married her the previous 
year. As I had to write this life of S. Aloysius, I went to Casti 
glione and made enquiries of the archpriest himself, and of the 
Marquis mother who was still living, and of many others; and 
I found what I have said to be the fact. 

Since S. Aloysius and his mother were in ignorance of the 
truth, he, by his mother s suggestion, strongly urged his brother 
to break off his friendship with the lady and please his uncle 
by. marrying his daughter. The Saint warmly urged the Marquis 
to consent. He however, endeavoured by evasive words to get 
away from Aloysius first in one way and then in another. He 
promised to do what was asked, but never fulfilled his promise. 
As S. Aloysius feared that if this were not settled while he 
was there he would gain nothing, he renewed his attack 
and so pressed his brother that he was obliged to give him 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 199 

his word of honour to satisfy him. S. Aloysius was on the 
point of starting for Milan, and the Marquis promised to join 
him there and to conform faithfully to his advice. Satisfied 
with this promise, the Saint went to Milan on the twenty 
fifth of November, 1689, and his companion Brother James was 
summoned to Venice. At Milan he applied himself to his studies 
and his usual spiritual duties. About January the Marquis 
came as he had engaged. He reached the College on the mor 
ning of a feast day when S. Aloysius had been to communion 
and was at the moment making his thanksgiving in the Choir. 
The porter at once informed Aloysius of his arrival, telling him 
that his brother was waiting for him at the door. But the Saint 
made no reply and continued immovable in prayer for almost 
two hours longer. When he had finished he went to the Mar 
quis, who, after the customary greetings, confided to him 
that he had already been fifteen months married to this lady, 
but had kept the marriage secret, fearing that it would displease 
his uncle, the Prince. 

S. Aloysius was greatly rejoiced to find that his brother 
was not living in sin, as the world had believed, but, on the 
contrary had feared to offend God. In regard to the conceal 
ment however, he said that he would willingly comply with 
the wishes of the Marquis in so far as was consistent with 
the welfare of his soul, but that he must consult some grave 
and learned Father on this point. To this his brother consented. 
Accordingly he wrote to Rome on the matter and also asked 
advice in Milan. All, after carefully considering the case, decided 
that Rodolph was bound in conscience to disclose the marriage, 
since the false opinion commonly held was injurious to the 
honour of God and of the lady. 17 The Marquis promised to 
do this and S. Aloysius took upon himself to pacify his relations. 
When all was settled he got his brother to make a general 
confession of his whole life, and afterwards to go to Com 

Rodolph then set off for Castiglione, and Aloysius soon 
followed him thither with Flavius Saraceni. 18 S. Aloysius told 
this Brother that it was the second time he had gone to that 
place; the first time on temporal business, but now for the 
affairs of God. And so it was. For he persuaded the Marquis to 
inform his mother of the marriage, and to beg her to accept and 


The Life of Chap, 

recognize his wife as her daughter-in-law. This done, Aloy- 
sius himself announced it to the people, and at the same time 
by letters, to the Duke of Mantua, the Cardinals John Vincent 
and Scipio Gonzaga, who were then alive, and also to the princes 
and other relations, from all of whom he received gracious 
answers. And in particular he was happily successful in winning 
the approval of his uncle, Don Alphonsus. Rodolph afterwards 
succeeded to the estate of Castle Goffredo. Later on this property 
was exchanged by the Prince Marquis Don Francisco with the 
Duke of Mantua for that of Medole, with the approval of the 
Emperor Rodolph who incorporated Medole with that of Casti- 
glione, so that both are now held in his own right by the 
Prince of Castiglione. In this manner all the doubts and false 
reports that had been current against the reality of the marriage 
were set at rest, and divine and human justice satisfied by the 
complete vindication of the fair fame of the lady before the 
world. On this occasion S. Aloysius, profiting by the marriage, 
persuaded many who had been living in sin to marry, and effected 
several important reconciliations. 

S. Aloysius was requested by his mother to deliver a 
sermon in church, which he consented to do after having asked 
the advice of his companion. He preached on a Saturday 
in a church, near San Nazario, belonging to the Congregation 
called detta Discipline and though he kept it as secret as he 
could and forbade the bell to be rung, the church was filled to 
overflowing. This was on March 3 rd i 5 9 o, the Sunday following 
being Quinquagesima, the last Sunday of Carnival. In a beautiful 
and devout sermon he exhorted all to go to Communion the 
next morning, and with such effect that the priests and Pnars 
were kept the whole night in the Church hearing confessions. 
In the morning the Dowager Marchioness, the Marquis with his 
wife and seven hundred persons, men and women, went 
Communion, and S. Aloysius himself served the Mass and gave 
the Ablutions to those who communicated, to his great consol 
ation and their edification. After dinner all went to the 
Catechism. When he had thus set in order the affairs of his 
family, he left for Milan on. March 22 nd . 19 He had just com 
pleted his 22 nd year on the 9 th f the month - The c ld 
Lombardy had caused his hands to swell, and so chapped wer 
they that some who saw the state they were in, implored anc 


S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 

Apse of the Church of S. Ignatius, Rome. 
(See P. II. note 34.) 

202 The Life of Chap. 

strove to constrain him to wear gloves, at any rate while he 
was travelling. But with his love of suffering and contempt, he 
would never consent to anything of the kind. On his way to 
Milan he passed through Piacenza where one of the Fathers, 
having come to his room as soon he arrived at the College, to see 
and embrace him, as is the custom in the Society when any 
one departs or arrives, found him brush in hand cleaning his 
shoes. The sight touched this Father with devotion and com 
punction, first, on account of the wonderful sanctity which 
beamed from the Saint s countenance, and, secondly, at the 
humility displayed in this humble employment. For he remem 
bered that the first time he had seen him at Parma, when a 
layman, he had in his train a crowd of servants. When at last 
S. Aloysius arrived in the College of the Society at Milan; 
"Oh what consolation", he exclaimed, "do I feel in finding my 
self once again settled in our own house! It is just like one 
who, perishing and benumbed with cold, finds himself laid in a 
warm soft bed. Such was I while an exile from our house and 
such is the satisfaction I experience in returning to it." 


The Edification S. Aloysius gave in the College at Milan 
during his stay there. 


fhe hardships of the journey had so told on S. Aloysius 
that on his return to Milan he fell seriously ill. 
During his illness Brother Augustine Salombrini at 
tended him with his wonted assiduity and charity. 
Aloysius being a Saint himself, was delighted with the piety and 
sanctity which he discovered in his infirmarian, and the Brother 
took equal delight in his patient. Like the Seraphim of Isaias 
they conversed perpetually of God and of spiritual things, animat 
ing and encouraging each other in praising Him and serving 
Him. And thus as the body of the one gathered strength, the 
soul of the other was equally refreshed. In fact so great was 
the esteem and love entertained by S. Aloysius for Augustine, 

XXII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 203 

that he obtained leave from his superiors to take him wherever 
he went on business, to be by his side as his Guardian Angel. 
He never did anything without the Brother s advice, which 
he followed so closely that he quickly succeeded in making 
peace between the Duke of Mantua and the Marquis his 
brother. When he was returning to Rome he begged that he 
and Brother Salombrini might not be separated, and though 
those at Milan were very loth to lose the Brother, they were 
forced to consent ; and Aloysius took him with him. Happy 
days, whether in the city or on the highway, when two Saints 
travel together! So far Father Andrada in his Life of Brother 

And just as fire never ceases to warm, or light to illuminate, 
or a precious ointment to exhale its perfume, so S. Aloysius was 
ever inflaming other souls by his burning words, illuminating 
them by his holy example or diffusing the sweet perfume of his 
virtues. And as waters long pent up burst forth with a mightier 
impetus, so after having been occupied for so many weeks in 
Castiglione without being able to perform his wonted mortifi 
cations and penances, when he returned to Milan he seemed 
wholly insatiable in asking permission for such things and in 
practising them. 

The moment he arrived, he appeared in the refectory in 
a ragged habit, to tell his fault and to do other edifying acts of 
penance. The strictness practised there and the eagerness of 
the students to acquire true devotion and religious perfection, as 
well as to make progress in science and letters, delighted him. 
On the other hand the whole college rejoiced at possessing such 
a model of perfection, and all loved and admired him, and 
strove to profit by their intercourse with him. I cannot in this 
chapter give many details of his actions while at Milan, partly 
because several who could have furnished them are dead, amongst 
whom was Father Bartholomew Recalcati, who died Rector of 
that College in the odour of sanctity and who was very intimate 
with Aloysius, and partly because the process for his Beatification, 
begun by the Cardinal Frederick Borromeo, Archbishop of that 
city, is not yet concluded. I will only mention a few things set 
down in other writings and processes by persons who were at that 
time residing in Milan, with some further particulars collected 
at my request by Father Philip Rinaldo, Rector of the College. 

204 The Life of Chap. 

While Aloysius remained at Milan, he attended the 
Theological Lectures 20 , morning and evening, with the other 
scholars, as well as all their other exercises, nor would he 
accept the smallest privilege or exemption. He even shared 
his room with another student, as did the rest, to the great 
edification of his companion, who derived much spiritual benefit 
from observing the Saint s conduct. Having been given a well 
bound copy of the Summa of S. Thomas for his use, which had 
gilding on the cover and leaves, he could not be persuaded to 
keep it, but besought his superior with tears to let him have 
an old and shabby one, and to this the superior, compassionating 
his distress, consented. For the same reason, out of love of 
poverty, he would wear none but worn and patched clothes. 
During the day, whatever time he could spare from his studies, 
he would get leave to serve in the kitchen and the refectory, 
carrying water for the cook and washing the pots and kettles and 
other utensils. 

In the refectory, in order to keep himself in union with 
God and perform his work with greater merit, he used to 
assign the different tables to various holy personages. That 
at which the superior sat, he called the table of Our Lord, 
the one next .to it that of Our Lady, then came the Apostles, 
Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins. Thus when he was laying .the 
cloth in the refectory he would say: "Let us prepare the table 
of Our Lord, of Our Lady", and in the same way with the others. 
And all this he did with as much devotion and affection as 
if he were really laying the table for Our Lord or the Saints. 
He took great pleasure in joining the lay Brothers in recreation 
and walking out of doors with them, partly from humility and 
partly because he felt more at liberty to speak with them of 
God; and he delighted in helping them all in spiritual things. 
In the conversations at recreation if the fathers were seated he 
always chose the least commodious seat where there was nothing 
to lean against, or if they were standing in a circle he would 
hide behind the others and listen rather than speak. In passing 
others he always made way for them and that with such sim 
plicity that it was evident that he did so not out of compliment 
or ceremony, but from humility. 

One day as he was going with the refectorian to the 
church of San Fedele to hear a sermon, he was met by one of 

XXII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 205 

his former vassals who, saluted him with the title of "Ex 
cellency", and with a profound obeisance, begged his good 
offices to assist him in defending his rights in regard to some 
property which he possessed. But the Saint returned his 
salutation with great humility, and standing with uncovered 
head replied: "I am now no longer anything but Aloysius of 
the Society of Jesus; nor can I assist you in any way but by 
praying for you, and by advising you to lay your case before 
my brother." And this he said with such simplicity and 
humility, that the other was no less edified than amazed. 

Father Gabriel Vasquez, S. J., 

during four years Professor of Dogmatic Theology to S. Aloysius. 

From a painting, formerly in the Professed House of the Society of Jesus in 

Seville, now in the Museo de la Provincia, Seville. 

(See P. I, ch. 8. P. II, ch. n and note 12.) 

His gratitude for the smallest service was wonderful. He 
seemed to think he could never say enough; and all with 
perfect simplicity and sincerity. Being asked by a Brother 
whether it was difficult for a great nobleman to abandon the 
vanities of the world, he answered that it was utterly im 
possible, unless Our Lord put clay upon his eyes, as he did 
to the man born blind; that is, unless He enabled him to 
perceive their worthlessness. One day Father Alamanni of the 
College of Milan came to him for spiritual aid in great distress, 
because he felt himself so very imperfect. S. Aloysius to 
console him quoted the words of the 13 8 th Psalm, v. 16. 
"Thy eyes did see my imperfect being, and in Thy book all 

206 The Life of Chap. 

shall be written." He added that though the sight of our 
imperfections was indeed enough to drive us to despair, yet we 
may console ourselves by considering that it is with these im 
perfections that we are written in the book of God, not for 
our condemnation but to humiliate us and lead us to greater 
sanctity. This explanation, coupled with the devout demeanour 
of the Saint, gave great relief to the Father. 

Aloysius had a special predilection for such mortifications 
as did violence to human respect, both at home and abroad. 
During the Carnival some of the Scholastics went out to preach 
in the public squares in Milan. S. Aloysius so earnestly entreated 
the Father Rector to be allowed to accompany one of them 
that he was obliged to consent, and he scoured the streets 
collecting the people and persuading them to go to hear the 
Brother, and this with such humility, modesty and charity, that 
none could resist him. On Sundays and Feast days he used 
to go into the public places to teach Catechism, though he was 
not required to do so, and he suffered greatly from the cold 
which at that time was very severe in Milan. 

One evening, hearing that a Brother was going the next 
day to beg through the streets of the city, previous to making 
his vows, one of the mortifications customary in the Society 
as a trial, he went and asked leave to go with him. On 
obtaining it, he was so overjoyed that in the evening after the 
Examen he went to the Brother to tell him the news although 
the Brother was already in bed. And all the next day, while 
he was begging, he was filled with spiritual consolation, and 
kept saying as he passed along the streets: "Our Lord Jesus 
Christ went about asking alms, especially during those three 
days in which He was separated from His Mother." On another 
occasion when he was on the same errand in a very tattered 
habit, he was asked by a smartly dressed lady whether he 
belonged to Santa Maria di Brera, where a Father with whom 
she was acquainted had gone to reside. When he answered 
in the affirmative, she exclaimed "Oh poor Father! to what a 
place has he gone to kill himself!" But S. Aloysius seized the 
occasion to enlighten her, and to teach her how mistaken 
she was, and he assured her that far from being miserable, the 
Father was most happy; far from being dead he was in a state 
of perfect life. She it was, who was miserable and unhappy, 

XXII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 207 

and in danger of eternal death, for her dress and appearance 
showed that her heart was set on vanity. Such was the spirit 
and power of his words that the lady was moved to great 
compunction, which was evidenced by a complete change of life. 

S. Aloysius was very assiduous in clearing away the 
spiders webs in the College, and if by any chance he saw a 
Senator or person of high rank walking in the lower corridors 
he would come down at once pole in hand with a broom on 
the end of it, and set to work cleaning, so that he might appear 
lowly and of no account before them. He did this so regularly, 
that when the Fathers saw S. Aloysius coming down with the 
pole in his hand, they guessed at once that some illustrious 
visitor was in the College. When some Bishops were ex 
pected to dinner, the superior commanded Aloysius to preach 
in the refectory as he wished to introduce him to them. He 
would gladly have avoided the task, as he did not like making 
any appearance, but loved to remain hidden and unknown. He 
could not however refuse to obey, and he preached an admirable 
sermon on the episcopal office. When he was afterwards con 
gratulated on his success, he said that the only thing that had 
given him some gratification that morning was, that now he 
was publicly known as a person who had an impediment in his 
speech; for he could not pronounce the letter R properly. 

He frequently asked to be publicly reprimanded in the 
refectory; a practice which he had given up in Rome, because 
instead of reprimanding, they used to praise him. Owing to his 
habit of being always united with God he sometimes failed to 
notice when someone saluted him, and so neglected to return it. 
When he was getting a new hat made at Milan, someone called 
his attention to this, and he severely accused himself of pride, 
and ever after was most exact in this. He made a great effort, 
so to control his union with God as not to allow it to interfere 
with this act of courtesy. He was a model of humility, modesty, 
obedience and observance of the rule to the whole College. 
From the esteem in which he was held all sought for his com 
pany; but he himself preferred the more fervent ones with whom 
he could speak of divine things with mutual profit. 

208 The Life of Chap. 


Testimony of two Fathers to S. Aloysius who knew him 
in Milan. 

fter the death of S. Aloysius, Father Bernardine Medici, 
of Florence, a man no less distinguished for his 
virtue in religious life than by his noble birth, who 
knew him very intimately, wrote to me from Milan, 
where he was Professor of Holy Scripture. 

"Our good brother Aloysius told me that he had a great 
esteem for steadfastness and perseverance in little things. He 
looked upon this as most important, and consequently in all 
his actions and regular hours kept always to the same order. 
He said nothing was more dangerous than to let, oneself be 
guided by feelings. The only safe way was the way of under 
standing, knowledge and reason. He always strove in his actions 
to keep pace with his light, though he said he never seemed to 
attain to what it showed to him, for it kept ever advancing in 
proportion as he followed it. He had an ardent desire for tri 
bulations, and he said to me that he looked upon it as a mark 
of great sanctity when he saw any one suffering with a good 
conscience; that is, when he saw a man who was good, and to 
whom God sent occasions of suffering. He thought well of all, 
not that he condoned evident faults, but that he interpreted 
them favourably whenever it was possible. He admonished 
others of their faults, with the greatest prudence and charity, 
and begged to be told of his own. His conduct in all his 
affairs was marked by prudence, piety and charity; there was 
never even a shadow of levity. 

"The whole time that I knew him I never saw a trace of 
any passion or inordinate emotion; nor did I ever see him 
commit the smallest voluntary fault or break any rule. He was 
pre-eminent in every virtue and yet there was nothing singular 
about him; and this I esteem the greatest of all his virtues. 
This is all that occurs to me at present." 

About this time a report was current in the College that 
S. Aloysius had an extraordinary gift of prayer free from dis- 

XXIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 209 

tractions of any sort. Father Achilles Gagliardi, a very learned 
person and of great authority, took occasion to engage him 
several times in conversation on spiritual matters, 21 and coming 
to speak of the unitive way of perfect charity, called by theo 
logians Mystical Theology, it was plain to him that, in addition 
to many other eminent Divine gifts, this holy soul enjoyed the 
closest union with God, daily walked in that mystical way, 
and was versed in that divine darkness, which is taught by the 
great S. Denys, the Areopagite. This practice he not only knew 
and delighted in, but he had entered into it so deeply that the 

Father Benedict Giustiniani, S. J., 

another of S. Aloysius Professors of Dogmatic Theology in the Roman College. 

From an oil painting in the Universita Gregoriana at Rome. 

(See P. II, ch. n and note 12.) 

Father was filled with consolation and amazement at seeing 
such heroic virtues and perfections in a youth, who had barely 
been four years in religious life. For in his judgment the Saint 
had already reached to a height in prayer to which very few 
even of the most experienced and steadfast in religious life are 
given the grace to attain. And, as it is usual for those who 
have advanced so far in the unitive way to find it painful to 
converse with others , and to long to be alone and undisturbed 
in contemplation, the Father, in order to try him said to him, 
that he wondered he was not somewhat suspicious of such an 
exercise as it seemed opposed to the spirit of the Society, which 
was to be accessible to all for the salvation of souls. Whereas 

2io The Life of Chap. 

the nature of the unitive and mystical way was to lead those who 
practised it to withdraw from all human intercourse, choosing 
the better part alone, and leaving the active life to others. To 
this S. Aloysius replied: "If I perceived that it produced such 
effects, as your Reverence describes, I should certainly regard 
it with suspicion and think it was not suitable for me". From 
this the Father understood, to his still greater amazement, that 
God had so combined His gifts that the unitive way did not 
impede the active, nor the active disturb the unitive, and that 
he had attained to that supreme degree of union with the Divine 
Will in which the soul, enamoured of God, sees His zeal for 
the salvation of men, and is thus impelled to descend from the 
heights of contemplation to minister to their eternal welfare. 
Hence this Father from that time forth went about proclaiming 
everywhere this great gift of S. Aloysius, and in three of his 
writings he has deposed to the same on oath. 


S. Aloysius approaching death is revealed to him. He is 
recalled to Rome, and returns thither. 


y his many virtues and the angelic life which he had 
led on earth this holy youth was already ripe for 
Heaven and fit to join the Angels there. God ac 
cordingly made known to him that He intended soon 
to summon him to receive the reward which his diligent labours 
had merited in so short a time. While he was still at Milan, 
and a little more than a year before his death, one morning 
during his prayer when rapt in contemplation, he received an 
interior illumination by which he understood that his time on 
earth was to be very short. It was further intimated to him that 
he was to strive for greater perfection in the service of God, 
and for complete detachment, more earnestly than ever. 22 He 
seemed also to himself to experience an interior change by 
which his affections were strangely withdrawn from the things 
of this world. 

XXIV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 211 

He kept this revelation to himself at the time, and only 
disclosed it after his return to Rome to Father Vincent Bruno 
and to one or two others. Meanwhile he applied himself as 
diligently as ever to his theological studies, although he was 
unable to take the same interest in them as formerly, for he felt 
his heart perpetually drawn to interior union with God. He 
would have been glad to go back to Rome where he had re 
ceived his first lessons in religious life, and had so many spiritual 
companions and friends. But he never allowed this wish to be 
known by anyone as he was anxious to be thoroughly indifferent 
about all things and to leave perfect freedom to his superiors. 
God however willed that he should return for the consolation 
of so many of his spiritual brethren in the Roman College, 
who ardently desired to have him with them again. Consequently 
the Father General, as he saw that the affairs for which Aloysius 
had been sent into Lombardy were now concluded and that the 
winter was over, so that it was a good time for travelling, deter 
mined to recall him to Rome. The General was also urged to 
do so by Father Bernardine Rossignoli, the Rector of the Roman 
College, who was wishful for the good of so many young men, 
to whom the Saint s presence and society was such an advantage. 
I was commissioned by the Father Rector to tell Aloysius the 
first news of this, which caused him such joy that he feared it 
was too great, and begged Father Bernardine Medici to say a 
Mass to ask God that his desire might not be fulfilled, if this 
were for His greater glory. Soon after he received the order 
itself from the Father General, and he then wrote very affectionate 
letters to several friends explaining the reasons which made him 
so glad to be in Rome. 

In one, written to me, he said: "It will not, I think, be 
difficult to convince you how rejoiced I am to be sent to the 
Roman College, again to see the Fathers and all my spiritual 
brethren there, and again to enjoy that intercourse, in the Lord, 
with you and so many of our acquaintances, from which I hope 
to derive even greater satisfaction than formerly. And I desire 
you to remember me to them in particular, while at the same 
time I recommend myself with my whole heart, mind and soul 
to the entire Roman College". The other reason he expressed 
in a letter written to a Father Gaspar Alpereo his old fellow- 
novice. 28 In this he says, alluding to the prospect of his recall, 

212 The Life of Chap. 

"to which I shall respond with all the greater joy since if 
we have any country here on earth I acknowledge none but 
Rome, where I was born in Christ Jesus". On receiving the 
summons, he set off, in the beginning of May, 1690, accom 
panied by Fathers Gregory Mastrilli, Jerome Terricelli, Nicholas 
Branchi and various other persons. During the journey he pur 
sued the same line of conduct as in the former ones, to the 
great edification of the Fathers who were with him. They 
endeavoured however to distract him from his continual medi 
tation , for they saw that of his own accord he hardly ever broke 
silence and appeared always abstracted. Owing to the great 
scarcity that prevailed at that time in Italy they found many poor 
people starving on the roadside, especially among the mountains 
which divide Tuscany from Lombardy, and on one occasion 
Father Gregory said to Aloysius: "God has been very good to 
us, Brother Aloysius, in not letting us be born one of these 
poor people." He promptly replied: "But still more in not 
letting us be born among the Turks." 

It seemed to Aloysius that these Fathers showed too much 
consideration for him and out of charity took too much care of 
him, so he told another Father that he would much rather 
have gone with companions who would not have paid him any 
respect at all. When they came to Sienna , he wished to receive 
Communion in S. Catherine s room and in order to do so he 
served Father Pietro Alagona s Mass there. He was of the Society 
of Jesus, and had come with them from Florence. The Saint 
communicated with great fervour and devotion. In the College 
at Vienna, he was requested by the Father Rector to preach 
a sermon to the young men belonging to the Sodality of Our 
Lady. He consented, retired to the tribune and there , without 
any books, prepared his sermon by prayer before the Blessed 
Sacrament. Then he returned to his room, and wrote some 
brief notes of what had occurred to him, and preached so 
devout and efficacious a sermon that, enforced by the personal 
merits of the Saint, it moved a great number to give up 
the world and enter religious life. So many people begged 
earnestly for copies of this sermon that it was necessary to get 
it transcribed, for which purpose a Father asked the Saint for 
it, however he had mislaid it. At last it was found in a 
volume of S. Bernard. The original notes in S. Aloysius 

XX V. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 2I ^ 

handwriting were preserved out of devotion by one of the Do 
minican Fathers. 24 At last he arrived in Rome where he was 
greeted with the greatest joy by the whole College. 


The consummate perfection of S. Aloysius. 

[he wise man says in the Book of Proverbs that the 
life of the just, which he calls a/0M, is as a shining 
light, which from the faint glimmer of early dawn, 
goeth forward and increaseth even to perfect day, when 
the sun has reached the meridian. Such was the life of S. Aloy 
sius. The light began to dawn in the brightness of his inno 
cence at seven years old. Year by year its shining grew as with 
the years he went on from virtue to virtue, and acquired fresh 
light and fresh merits, until at last he got to such lustre and 
glory of holiness, that not only he may be said to have arrived at 
the perfect day, but he had become himself as a light shining 
in the world - as the Apostle says of the Philippians. If he 
had shown himself to be this in the past, during this his last 
year he was recognized as such by all who were with him at 
the Roman College. For his virtue shone forth as consummate; 
his life was an almost constant ecstasy, entirely detached from 
this world; for his thoughts and affections were far more in 
heaven than on earth. When he arrived in Rome, he said to 
[ have buried my dead, and have no longer any concern 
with them; it is time now to think of the life to come" Soon 
after he went to the Father Rector, Bernardine Rossignoli, and 
gave into his hands all his spiritual and theological notes Among 
these there were some very admirable original considerations on 
b. Thomas. When the Rector asked him why he thus deprived 
himself of his theological papers, which he required, and especially 
those of his own composition, he replied that he did so, be 
cause he felt a certain affection for these creations of his own 
mind in particular, and that they were the only things in the 
world to which he at all clung. Hence he wished to part with 
them that he might be entirely cut off from everything. 

He had attained to a still further refinement of perfection 
worthy of being noted and imitated by all religious. It is natural 

Saint Aloysius. 


2I 4 

The Life of 


to feel pleasure in being specially loved and run after by people 
of distinction, and particularly by superiors, as it is a clear sign 
of their being satisfied with us, so that a person is inclined to 
plume himself before others about this. S. Aloysius, on the con 
trary, shunned all marks of affection, even from superiors, and 
if any were shown to him, he was annoyed and did not respond. 
He was so completely dead to all self-love that he could not 
bear that any one should have a special affection for him. And 
his superiors, as they saw this, on purpose to please him, were 
careful not to let it appear that they thought more of him than 
of the others. He had always been amiable and engaging in 
his intercourse with others, but during this last year he became so 
exceedingly affable and agreeable to everyone, and so overflowed 
with a universal charity which embraced everyone equally, that 
all strove to hear his words at recreation as he spoke such high 
things of God, of the things of Heaven and of perfection. I know 
by my own experience, and by what has been told me, that many 
found their hearts more inflamed by hearing him than even by 
prayer. When he found himself alone with any to whom he 
knew he might speak openly he would disclose to them such 
divine affections in his soul as filled all with wonder and 
made them venerate and desire so lofty a union with God. 
He walked always in the Divine Presence and never was he dis 
tracted from it. He was so full of the love of God that if it 
was read of at table or spoken of he would be so moved in 
teriorly and so set on fire exteriorly, that he was unable at the 
time to speak. On one occasion amongst others, when at table 
he heard something read about the love of God, he felt such a 
fire kindled within him that he was forced to stop eating. We, 
who were at table with him, noticed this, and, as we feared that 
he felt ill, looked at him anxiously and asked if he wanted any 
thing. But he was unable to speak, and seeing he was discovered, 
only grew the more ashamed, and remained with his eyes cast 
down and a tear or two stole from them; his face burning and 
his breast heaving so much that we feared he would burst a 
blood-vessel. All were filled with pity for him and not till 
towards the end of supper did he by degrees regain the mastery 
over himself. Some who knew of this used on purpose at re 
creation to turn the conversation upon the love of God towards 
man, in order to see him change colour. Others on the con- 

XXV. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 215 

trary endeavoured to interrupt it on purpose, if it began on such 
subjects, out of regard to his health, and not to make him suffer. 
As he walked through the halls and corridors, his mind 
was so abstracted that I have often passed before him and saluted 
him without his being aware of it. At other times as he went 
about saying the rosary and other devotions, he would stop and 

E JOClttatC, JfJU. . vtxU- a,uws 70 . ohut: ,7. Seat. 1621 ,-s 

Father Robert Bellarmine, S. J. 

afterwards Cardinal, S. Aloysius Confessor. 

From an old engraving. 
(See P. I, ch. 2. P. II, ch. 16 and note 32. Appendix, ch. 5 and note 6.) 

kneel for a while, then stand up and again kneel for a while; 
and though in others such practices in public places would have 
appeared singular, in him no one blamed them. During this 
year, he gave an hour every day to spiritual reading. His 
favourite books were the Soliloquies of S. Augustine, the Life of 
S. Catherine of Genoa, S. Bernard s exposition of the Canticles, 
and above all the Letter, Ad fratres de Monte Dei, which is 

2i6 The Life of Chap. 

among that Saint s works. He knew it so well, that he almost 
had it by heart. As he read it, he used to jot down spiritual 
notes, and these were found in his own handwriting after 
his death. 

When, in the November of i 890, S. Aloysius was going to 
begin his fourth year of Theology, his superior obliged him to 
accept a room to himself. He begged for a little hole, it deserved 
the name, at the top of a staircase, old and black, low and 
narrow, with but a small window looking on the roof. It was so 
little that it would only hold his poor bed, a wooden chair, and 
a priedieu, which he used also as his desk. It was more like a 
narrow prison than a room, and was never given to any of the 
students. "When the Rector went to visit him in this place, he 
found him full of joy and consolation, better pleased with 
this miserable cabin, than others would be with a splendid 
palace. We used to tell him for fun that as S. Alexis chose 
to live in poverty under a staircase, so he had chosen to dwell 
in this den rather than elsewhere. In a word he lived so per 
fectly that no one could find anything in him they could even 
consider venial sin, as many of his superiors, companions and 
fellow- students have borne witness in different documents; more 
over his Confessor Father Bellarmine said that he never heard his 
confessions without remaining enlightened. Another Father,. 
Vincent Cigala, who for about two years dwelt with him in the 
same room at the Roman College, affirms on oath that being 
both bidden by the Rector to warn each other mutually of the 
faults which either might remark, in the whole of the two years, 
he could observe nothing in Aloysius, either small or great, that 
had the least shadow of fault; notwithstanding that he was con 
tinually in his company and conversed with him with the greatest 
confidence and frankness. 

This saintly youth was most reserved in his affections, 
careful in guarding his thoughts, united with God, zealous for 
the salvation of his neighbour and the perfection of his com 
panions and Brothers. In short he was a picture of hofaiess 
and esteemed as such both by the Religious and Seculars. A 
Dominican so reverenced him for his extraordinary sanctity and 
had such respect for him, that he never dared to accost or 
converse with him, although he neither wanted opportunity or 
will to enable him to do so. 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 2 i; 


A pestilence spreads through Rome. S. Aloysius 
conduct during it. 



5 n the year 1691, the whole of Italy was afflicted by 
a wide spread mortality, caused by the great scarcity 
and famine. In Rome especially, whither the people 
_ flocked from all parts in the hope of receiving succour, 
a great number died. The Fathers of the Society both with 
their own alms and those collected from others did much to 
relieve the public misery, not only helping to the best of their 
knowledge and power in the hospitals in Rome, but Father 
Claud Acquaviva, who on this occasion personally tended the 
lepers, seeing how great was the distress, desired a new hospital 
to be opened by the Fathers, as was done. 

In these circumstances the signal charity of Aloysius was 

a subject of great astonishment to all who saw him, as he went 

frequently through Rome begging alms with great joy for the 

sick poor. Once especially when he learnt that Prince John 

de Medici 25 , who had been his friend and companion from 

childhood, had arrived to negotiate with the reigning Pontiff, 

Gregory XIV, as he knew his piety, he begged leave of the 

Father General to visit him with a patched habit, and a sack 

on his shoulders. He hoped in so doing, both to gain great alms 

for the poor in the hospitals, and also, because this nobleman 

had ever shown him special affection, he felt it his duty to give 

him spiritual help. Aloysius thought that by visiting him in these 

poor clothes he would imprint in his heart a greater contempt 

for all worldly things. He obtained the permission, and gained 

both his objects, as the Majordomo in the Prince s service 

assured me afterwards. For he brought away with him, no 

small donation for the poor, and the Prince was greatly edified, 

and touched at the sight of his humility. Besides this, Aloysius 

wished to go himself to assist the poor in the hospitals, and 

though his superiors made difficulties about consenting, he 


The Life of 


alleged with holy eagerness the example of others who went there,, 
and so obtained leave. 

He used to go frequently with companions , who had been 
selected for the purpose, of whom some are still living, as 
Father Antony Francis Guelfucci, who is preaching in Venice,, 
and Father Darius Tamburelli, Professor of Philosophy at Parma, 
and perhaps others whom I do not know. One of these, Tiberius 
Bondi, a Genoese, was told by some one to be careful of 
what he did, as there was danger of contagion. He answered 
that having before his eyes the example of Aloysius, who went 
there with so much charity, he could never be deterred from the 
work by any fear of danger, even of death. Tiberius felt him 
self at that time inflamed with such unusual fervour, that many 
who had known him previously marvelled at the change and 
rejoiced at it. It so happened that he was the first to die of 
this illness, as will be told hereafter. 

Those who visited the sick were always accompanied by 
a priest in order to hear their confessions , and most frequently 
it was Father Nicholas Fabrini of Florence, who was then 
Minister of the Roman College , and was a man of good judg 
ment, full of charity and other religious virtues. He had known 
Aloysius intimately; and afterwards, whilst Rector of the College 
at Florence, he wrote an account of all the Saint did, both in 
the hospitals and during his last illness. 

It was a terrible thing to witness such a number of dying 
men going about the hospital half naked, with the loathsome 
and fetid disease, and to see them fall down dead in a corner 
on the stairs; but on the other hand it was a very picture of the 
charity of Paradise to see Aloysius and his companions serving 
the sick with great gladness, undressing them, putting them ta 
bed, washing their feet, and making their beds, bringing them 
their food, catechising and preparing them for Confession, and 
exhorting them to patience. It was noticed by Father Fabrini 
that Aloysius generally was engaged upon the most repugnant ca 
ses, and appeared not to know how to tear himself away from them. 

In the practice of such charity, as the disease was catching, 
many of the companions of the holy youth were attacked,, 
and the first to fall ill was Tiberius Bondi, who died very 
quickly. He was a subject of pious envy to S. Aloysius, who 
said to one of his fellow - students : "How willingly I would 

XXVI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 219 

change places with Tiberius; and die in his stead, if our Dear 
Lord would but grant me the favour to do so." And the Father 
making him some reply or other, Aloysius answered: "I say 
this because I have some reason to think that I am now in 
God s Grace, whereas I do not know what may be hereafter; 
so I would willingly die." 

Villa Borzari at Frascati, 
formerly country house of the Roman College where S. Aloysius often passed his 

autumn holidays. 
(See P. II, ch. 18, 19.) 

And he said on the same occasion to Father Bellarmine: 
"I believe that my days are few;" and when asked the reason 
why, he replied: "Because I feel within me an extraordinary 
desire to labour and to serve God, and with such intense ardour 
that I do not think God would have given it to me if he had 
not meant to take me soon from this world." 

The Life of 


The last illness of S. Aloysius. 


od did not long delay to satisfy S. Aloysius desire 
of death. For, though his superiors when they saw 
that many of those who were serving in the hospital 
fell dangerously ill did not wish the Saint to go 
there anymore, still with holy insistance he begged for per 
mission. In consequence leave at length was given him to 
visit the hospital of the Consolaziom , where ordinarily no 
patients are admitted with contagious diseases. Notwithstanding, 
he was almost immediately stricken down by the same illness 
as the others, and he took to his bed on March 3 , i 5 9 i . 

The moment he felt himself attacked, as he believed in 
accordance with the impression he had had at Milan that 
this illness was to be his last, he was full of an extraordinary 
joy which showed itself in his face and in every action. Those 
to whom he had confided the revelation, which he had received 
at Milan, argued from his high spirits that the time of his dis 
solution had arrived. And this indeed was the fact. As he 
felt so strong a desire to die, S. Aloysius feared lest it might 
be excessive, and to re-assure himself, he asked to see his 
confessor, Father Bellarmine. When the Father told him that 
the desire of death in order to be united with God, was not 
wrong of itself, provided there was due resignation, and that 
many ancient and modern saints had a like desire, Aloysius 
gave himself up entirely with a new earnestness to the thought 
of eternal life. 

His illness increased so rapidly that in seven days he was 
reduced to the last extremity, it being, as they believed, pestilen 
tial fever. With great earnestness and fervour, he first went to 
confession, and then he was anointed and received Holy Viati 
cum from the hands of the Father Rector Bernardine Rossig- 
noli. He answered all the prayers with very great devotion, 
while the bystanders with tears were deploring the loss of so 
dear and holy a brother. When he was in good health, and 

Shrine of St. Aloysius in St. Ignatius Church, Rome. 
(See Part II, Note 34. Explanations.) 

XXVII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 221 

did such penance as to seem to shorten his life, many of his 
friends among the Fathers and Brothers had reproved him 
out of the love they bore him and had said that, if not before, 
at all events, like S. Bernard, at the hour of his death, he would 
have some scruple about having treated his body too severely. 
Aloysius was anxious to leave no one under this impression. 
So when he had received the Holy Viaticum and the room was 
filled with his companions, he besought the Father Rector that 
he would tell everyone that he felt no such scruple; but rather that 
his conscience reproached him for not having done much more 
penance for which he could have easily obtained permission, 
and which would remove all doubt. Moreover that he had 
been obedient in all this to his superiors and had never acted 
according to his own will. He added too, that he did not 
remember ever having broken any rule, and this he said that 
none might be scandalized by having seen him at different 
times do something more than the rest, and out of the ordinary 
line. His words deeply moved them all. 

Father John Baptist Carminata 26 , who was then the Roman 
Provincial, came into his room and, when Aloysius saw him, he 
begged his permission to take a discipline, which was however 
refused as he was told that it would be impossible in his state of 
weakness. "At least", he pleaded, "allow Father Belmisseri to 
scourge me from head to foot." But the Provincial answered 
that neither was that lawful as the person who did it would 
run the risk of irregularity. S. Aloysius, when this too was re 
fused, begged that at least he might be allowed to die on the 
ground, so great was his love of penance and of the Cross, of 
austerities and mortifications, even to his last breath. But this 
was also denied him. He was almost certain that his death 
would occur on that the seventh day of his illness, and the 
day on which he completed his twenty third year. But it pleased 
God that the disease should abate and be prolonged, that he 
might continue to edify us and give us the example of many 
virtues, from his sick bed. Meanwhile a report had spread to 
Castiglione that he was dead and his mother and brother had 
ordered a solemn dirge, before the news came that he was yet 
living. The Marquis Rodolph in his joy broke in pieces the 
chain he wore around his neck and distributed the golden 
fragments to those around him when the letter arrived. 


The Life of Chap. 


The lengthy illness of S. Aloysius and the many edifying 
events that occurred during it. 


fhe first violence of the disease having passed, Aloysius 
fell into a low fever and consumption, which was a 
new form of his illness and which gradually wasted 

his strength during the space of more than three 

months. All this time many particulars occurred of great edifi 
cation, but owing to the number and variety of people who 
visited him it has not been possible to obtain an account of 
all I will only give here the few which have come to my 
knowledge. When he fell ill he was placed in a bed in the 
infirmary, over which was a large curtain of rough and coarse 
cloth with a mat, which had been placed there for an old man 
who was an invalid. Aloysius asked the superior for permission 
to have it taken away in order that his bed might not be 
different to the others. But when he was told that it had not 
been placed there for him, and that being poor and coarse 
there was no danger of infringing religious poverty, he was 
satisfied at once. 

In the beginning of his illness the doctor ordered that 
both he and another suffering from the same disease, should 
take a very disagreable potion. The other one drank it off as 
quickly as possible that he might not suffer from nausea and 
used besides the other aids which are customary. But Aloy 
sius, to mortify himself, took the glass in his hand, began to 
sip it very slowly as though it had been a delicious beverage, 
and did not show the least disgust. The infirmarian had placed 
some sugar candy and liquorice on the table in his room that 
he might take a little from time to time for his cough. He 
asked Father Francis Belmisseri to give him a little of the 
liquorice, and when the Father asked why he did not rather 
choose the candy, he replied that this was more fit for a 
poor man. 

He heard it said, while ill in bed, there was danger that 
year of plague in Rome, and he not only offered to the 

XXVIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 223 

superior if he recovered to help the plague-stricken, but more 
over begged and obtained permission of the Father General, 
who had come to visit him, to make a vow to that effect. Leave 
was given and he did so with great fervour, to the edification 
of those who knew of it and who saw in the vow his wonderful 
charity. Cardinals della Rovere and Scipio Gonzaga, his 

Rodolph Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione and Prince of the Holy Roman 
Empire, second brother of S. Aloysius. 

From an oil painting in the College of the "Virgins of Jesus" at Castiglione. 
(See P. I, ch. 2 ff. P. II, ch. 19 ff. and note 16, 17.) 

relations, came often to visit him during his illness, and Aloysius 
always spoke to them of spiritual things and of heaven, which 
edified them very much. The Father Rector begged them not 
to trouble to come to him any more as he would not fail to 
give them news of Aloysius, but they answered that they would 
continue because they obtained such good for their souls 
from these visits. 

224 The Life of Chap. 

With Cardinal Scipio particularly, who by reason of his 
gout had to be carried thither and who seemed as though 
he could not leave his side, Aloysius discoursed upon his 
approaching death and of the goodness of God in calling him 
to Himself at that early age. The Cardinal stayed to listen to 
him with great tenderness because of his affection for him. 
Aloysius said among other things that he had ever considered him 
as his father and greatest benefactor, since it was through his means 
that he had entered religion, in spite of so much opposition. 
The Cardinal moved to tears, answered that he it was who was 
under an obligation to him and that he held him rather in the 
light of a father and spiritual guide notwithstanding the difference 
of age, and confessed to him how much spiritual good he had 
always derived from his words and example. At his departure, 
he told his attendants how very sorry he should be if Aloysius 
died, and declared that he had never talked to him without 
feeling inwardly extraordinarily peaceful. He even said that 
he was convinced that he deemed him the most fortunate man 
in the Gonzaga family. 

At the same time there lay ill a devoted friend of Aloysius, 
Father Lewis Corbinelli of Florence, who was then old, and 
they often sent to salute one another mutually. As he grew 
rapidly worse, about a week before his death, he entreated 
Brother Francis Rosatini, the infirmarian, to carry Aloysius to 
his room which he could no longer, by reason of his illness, 
reach on foot. This the Father desired, as he held Aloysius to 
be a saint. The infirmarian did him this favour. He dressed 
Aloysius and carried him in his arms to the Father s room. It 
cannot be expressed what immense consolation the old priest 
derived from this visit and with how much and what tender de 
votion he received Aloysius. They remained some time together 
exhorting each other to patience and resignation to the Divine 
will. At length the aged priest said: "Farewell, Brother 
Aloysius; I have but a short time still to live, and we shall 
not meet again in this world, therefore I beg one favour of you 
which you cannot refuse, that you should give me your blessing 
before you go." Aloysius was astonished and abashed at such 
a request and said that it was not fitting for him to do so as 
the Father was old and he was but a youth; he had not received 
Holy Orders, whilst the venerable religious was a priest and 

XXVIII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 225 

therefore it was his office rather to bless him. The old man, 
through the love he had for this holy youth again insisted 
that in his last extremity he should not be left disconsolate and 
begged the infirmarian not to take Aloysius away until he had 
granted his request. The prudent youth still refused, until at 
length persuaded by the infirmarian who took part with the old 
Father, he found a way by which he might both satisfy the 
priest s desire, and preserve his own humility. Lifting his hand, 
he signed himself with the Cross and said aloud these words: 
"May God our Lord bless us both." Then taking Holy AVater 
which the Brother tended to him, he sprinkled F. Lewis with 
it saying: "My Father, may God our Lord fill you with His holy 
grace and grant all your desires, for the glory of His name; 
pray I beseech you in like manner for me." He then was 
carried back to his room, leaving the priest greatly consoled. 
This good Father gave another proof of his devotion to S. 
Aloysius by requesting, before his death, that he might be buried 
near to the grave of the Saint, although this would be in a dif 
ferent place to that of the priests. Some say that Aloysius fore 
told that this Father would die before him; as in fact happened, 
for Lewis Corbinelli expired on June i st , AVhitsun-eve, at mid 
night, twenty days before the happy passage of Aloysius to a 
better life. The Father was in a room at a considerable distance 
from his, and in a different corridor; nor did our Saint know 
that Corbinelli was at the point of death that evening. Three 
times did the Father appear that night to S. Aloysius, as he 
himself told the infirmarian next morning when- he came 
into the room to open the window and to see him as usual. 
For when he asked S. Aloysius how he had passed the night, 
the Saint answered: "I have had a very bad night, constantly 
troubled with annoying and extravagant dreams, or rather 
apparitions, for I saw the good Father Corbinelli three times 
in great distress. And the first time he said to me: Brother, 
you must pray for me earnestly this moment to God that He 
may deign to give me the patience and strength needed in 
the severe and perilous crisis which I am enduring, for I have 
not the courage, without special help of God to bear it as I 
should. I awoke and thought it was a dream, and I said to 
myself-- You had better go to sleep and leave this nonsense 
alone. A very short time after, I had scarcely dozed off, 

226 The Life of Chap. 

when the same Father appeared to me again, and begged me 
more earnestly than before to help him by earnest prayer, for 
his grievous pain was almost more than he could bear. Again 
I awoke, and again I blamed my folly and made up my mind 
to ask for a penance in the morning for neglecting to do all I 
could to get some rest, as the doctors and my superiors had 
desired me. Just as I was falling asleep anew, Father Corbinelli 
appeared a third time and said to me : My very dear Brother, 
I am come to the last point of this wretched life. Pray God, 
that my passage may be a happy one, and that in His mercy 
He will receive me in glory in the next, where I shall not 
forget to pray for you in return. On this I woke up so 
thoroughly, that I have not been able to close my eyes again 
for the rest of the night, so astonished was I at these 
apparitions, and so full of the thought of them." 

When the infirmarian heard all this he concealed his 
astonishment, lest the Saint should perceive it, and bade him 
take courage, for they were mere dreams and fancies, Father 
Corbinelli was well and he must not disturb himself. As he 
wanted the patient to get a little rest, he did not tell him 
that the Father was dead. Aloysius however showed that he 
not only knew for certain that he was departed, but that he 
had gone to Heaven. For when Father Robert Bellarmine asked 
him what he thought as to the fate of Father Corbinelli s soul 
and whether he believed it was in Purgatory, our Saint answered 
with great conviction: "He merely passed through Purgatory." 
From this Bellarmine gathered that he knew it by divine 
revelation, for Aloysius was naturally so careful in what he 
said, and particular not to be positive when there was any 
doubt, that he never would have spoken as he did to his con 
fessor, if God had not clearly revealed it to him. 

We were then all trying to find out reasons to prove that 
he ought to ask God to prolong his life, both that he might 
gain greater merit, and be of more use to his neighbour and 
his order. But his answer to all was: " Melius est dissolvi 
it is better to die"; and this he said with such feeling and 
with a face so calm, as to show that this his desire had no 
other ground than that of being united as quickly as possible 
and inseparably with God. 

XXIX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 227 


Two letters which S. Aloysius wrote from his sick-bed 
to his mother. 

i 591. 

uring his illness he wrote two letters to his mother. 
One he dictated at almost the beginning of his 
sickness, when its first violence had abated, during 
which he was thought to be at the point of death. 27 
In this, after consoling her and exhorting her to patience in 
her trials, he went on to say: 

"A month ago I was just going to receive from God, our 
Lord, the greatest favour one can receive, to die, as I trust, in 
His grace. Viaticum and Extreme Unction had already been 
administered. However it pleased our Lord to defer the boon. 
Meantime He disposed for me a slow fever, which still remains. 
The medical men do not know how it will end, but they are 
doing their best to obtain the cure of my body. I am pleased 
to think that God, our Lord, wants to grant me a better sort 
of health than the Doctors can give. And so all goes on 
merrily for me, with the hope of being in a few months called 
by God from this land of the dead to that of the living, and 
from the society of men here below, to that of the Angels and 
Saints of Heaven, and in fine from the sight of these earthly 
and perishable things to the sight and contemplation of God, 
Who is every Good. 

This will be a ground of great consolation to you, because 
you love me and wish for my good. I beg of you to pray, and 
to get the Brothers of Christian Doctrine to pray that in the 
short time that remains for me to sail on the sea of this world, 
God may deign, at the intercession of His only Son, of His 
most holy Mother and of SS. Nazarius and Celsus, to drown 
in the red sea of His most sacred passion my imperfections, so 
that freed from my enemies, I may go to the land of promise 
to see and enjoy God. May the same God console you. 

228 The Life of Chap, 

The second and longer letter, he wrote shortly before his 
death, when he was aware by a revelation, as will be told, of 
the precise day of his death, and of his going to Heaven. 28 In 
it he bade her good-bye and wrote as follows: 

"Most honoured Lady and Mother in Christ. 
Pax Christi. 

May the grace and consolation of the Holy Ghost be 
always with you. Your letter found me still dwelling in these 
regions of death, but very soon to pass into the land of the 
living, to praise God for ever. I thought to have made my 
last passage before now, but the violence of the fever, as I 
told you in my last, diminished somewhat, and thus brought me 
to the glorious feast of the Ascension. Since that time it has 
again increased, by reason of the inflammation in the chest, 
so that now I shall soon enjoy the embraces of my Heavenly 
Father, in whose Bosom I hope to rest safely and for ever. 
And thus the accounts that have reached you from various 
quarters about me all agree, as the Marquis also has written 
to say. 

Now if charity, as S. Paul says, makes us weep with those 
that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice, how great should 
be your joy, dear Mother, at the grace that God grants you in 
bringing me to true joy and assuring me that I shall never lose 
it again. I confess to you, that I am quite confused and lost 
at the consideration of the Divine Goodness, that boundless 
and fathomless Ocean which calls me to an eternal rest, after 
such short and trivial labour; which invites and calls me to- 
heaven to that Sovereign Good, which I sought so negligently; 
and which promises the fruit of those tears which I sowed so 
sparingly. Beware, dearest Mother, of wronging this Infinite 
Goodness, by weeping for one as dead, who is living before 
God to help you with his prayers far more than he could do 
when here below. This separation will not be for long, for we 
shall meet again, and enjoy each other s society in the next life, 
never to be wearied of it, but be united together with our 
Redeemer, praising Him with all our strength, and singing His 
mercies for ever. I do not doubt that you will put aside human 
considerations, and so will easily attain to that faith, to that pure 

S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 2 2O 

and simple obedience which we owe to God; offering Him 
freely and promptly, that which is His own, and all the more 
willingly the dearer it is to you; knowing for certain that all He 
does is good, and that He only takes back again what He had 
before given you, for no other reason than to put it in a place 
of safety, and to give it what we all desire for ourselves. 

I have said all this merely in order that you and all my 
family may receive my departure as a precious gift; and that 
you may follow and aid me with a mother s blessing to pass 
this gulf and gain the shore of all my hopes. And I have done 
it the more willingly because I have nothing else left to prove 
the filial love and reverence which I owe you. Once more 
humbly craving your blessing, I conclude 

Rome, June io th 1691. 

Your most obedient son in Christ, 
Aloysius Gonzaga. 


The manner in which S. Aloysius prepared for death. 


he time has now come to describe in what a holy 
and Christian way Aloysius prepared for his last 
passage from earth to Heaven. 

During his long and severe illness, which, in 
spite of the care which was shown to him, caused him much 
suffering, as always happens in cases of prolonged sickness, he 
never showed the least sign of impatience in words or gestures. 
He never complained of anything, or showed any discontent 
with the services of the infirrharians or with anything they did 
for him. It is specially in times of sickness that men s failings 
discover themselves, but he displayed great patience and obeyed 
with the strictest exactness his superiors, doctors and infirmarians. 
He ^gave an example of how a religious should conduct himself 
during illness, however serious. From the time that he took 
to his bed, down to his death, he would never listen to any 
conversation except about God and Heaven; and in order to 

Saint Aloysius. 


The Life of 


give him this lawful satisfaction, those who went to visit him 
spoke of nothing else while they remained with him. If, by 
chance, any one forgot himself, and began to talk of other 
things, Aloysius became abstracted and paid no attention; but 
when the conversation returned to spiritual matters he com 
pletely changed and showed not only pleasure but a sort of 
rapture. He gave as his reason for this that, although he did 
not consider that indifferent matters, treated in ordinary con 
versation in a spiritual and prudent manner, were contrary to 
his religious Institute, nevertheless, in the state in which ^ he 
then was, it appeared to him more fitting, and God required 
it of him, that not only his discourse should be formally spiritual, 
by its being directed to the glory of God, but that even the 
matter itself should likewise be holy; and these last moments 
of his life appeared to him too precious not to be spent on 
precious subjects. 

Sometimes he asked for his clothes, and would get out of 
his bed, and go very slowly to a table on which stood a crucifix, 
and, taking it in his hands, embrace and kiss it with very 
great love and reverence. He did the same to the picture of 
S. Catherine of Siena, and to those of other Saints which 
were round the room. The infirmarian told him one day that 
he need not have got up for this, as he would have brought 
him the crucifix and the pictures. "Brother," he replied, "these 
are my stations"; and he continued to do so as long as he had 
the strength to rise. Besides this, he used to get up some 
times during the day, when he was alone and the door of the 
room was closed, and kneel down to pray in a corner between 
the bed and the wall, and when he heard a noise at the door, 
he rose to return to his bed. The infirmarian from finding 
him frequently like this, began to suspect his object, and having 
at last caught him on his knees, forbade him to do so any 
more. He obeyed the order, but blushed at having been thus 
detected and never did it again. 

During this time, he talked over the affairs of his soul, as 
frequently as he could, with his confessor, F. Robert Bellar- 
mine. One evening in particular he asked him if he believed 
that any one went straight to Heaven, without passing through 
Purgatory. The father replied that he did; and, knowing how 
much might be expected from the virtue of Aloysius, he 

XXX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 231 

added: "And indeed I believe that you will be one of those 
that will do so; for since God has given you all those graces 
and supernatural gifts which you have confided to me, and, in 
particular, that of never having offended him mortally, I am 
convinced that He will also grant you this further grace of 
passing directly to Heaven." 

Palace at Castel Goffredo, 

built by Lewis Alexander Gonzaga, grand-father of S. Aloysius. 

f Room of S. Aloysius. 
(See P. I, note 7. P. II, ch. 20 and note 14.) 

S. Aloysius was so filled with consolation at this reply, 
that as soon as the Father had left his room, he fell into an 
ecstasy, in which he beheld the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem; 
and in this rapture or ecstasy he passed the whole night, with 
great sweetness and consolation of soul; so that as he after 
wards related to Bellarmine, the night appeared to pass in 
a moment. It is believed that the day of his death was 
revealed to him during this ecstasy, because he afterwards 

232 The Life of Chap, 

foretold clearly to several persons that he would die on the 
octave of Corpus Christi, as in fact it happened; and he pre 
dicted this specially several days before the Feast to F. Anthony 
Francis Guelfucci, who frequently visited him. And as mean 
time the illness became so much more serious, that even 
Father Vincent Bruno, who was Prefect of health, confirmed 
the statement that very short space of life remained for him, 
Aloysius took occasion from this to say to Brother Francis 
Belmisseri: "Do you not know the good news I have, that I am 
to die in a week? Pray help me to say the Te Deum, to 
thank God for this favour which he is doing me." So they 
devoutly recited the hymn together. 

Shortly after, one of his fellow -scholastics came into his 
room and he said merrily to him: "Father, Mantes imus, 
latantes imus we are going and gladly." And these words, 
which he said so joyfully, made the rest sigh and weep. Saint 
Aloysius then wanted to bid good bye by letter to three Fathers 
whom he very specially loved, Father John Baptist Pescatore, 
his former Master of Novices, then Rector at Naples, Mutius 
de Angelis, Professor of Theology in the same city, and 
Father Bartholomew Recalcati, Rector at Milan. He had letters 
written to each of them to say that he was going, so he hoped, 
to Heaven; he sent them his respects, and recommended himself 
to their prayers. As he had not strength to sign them, he got 
Father Guelfucci to hold his hand, and instead of his name, 
he made a cross with the pen, as a signature. 

Our Saint strove to spend this the last week of his life in 
special acts of devotion and of piety. First of all, when telling 
his intimate friend, Father Antony Francis Guelfucci, the cer 
tainty he had that he was going to die, he begged him to come 
on each day of the octave to his room to recite the seven 
penitential psalms. He did so; and S. Aloysius who was by 
himself, with his door closed, made the Father put the crucifix 
on the bed, kneel down near to it and read the seven psalms 
very slowly. Guelfucci would stop at some of the verses, and 
meantime the saintly youth kept his eyes fixed on the cross 
with deep attention, and his whole mind being penetrated with 
the thought of what was being read. He showed such devotion 
and feeling that it made the Father weep bitterly. And now 
and then a tear fell peacefully from the Saint s eyes. 

XXX. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 233 

At other times of the day, he asked to have read to him 
some chapters of the Psychacogia, the soliloquies of S.Augustine, 
S. Bernard on the Canticle, the song of joy -- "Ad perennis 
vita fontem To the fount of endless life", and some psalms, 
which he selected, as "Lcetatus sum in his, quce dicta sunt mihi, 
in domum Domini ibimus - - I rejoiced at the things that were 
said to me, we shall go into the house of the Lord", or " Quern 
admodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aqtiarum, ita desiderat 
anima mea ad te, Deus As the hart panteth after the foun 
tains of water, so my soul panteth after thee, O God", and 
others of this kind. As the news began to spread that Saint 
Aloysius had foretold that he would die in that octave, every 
one sought for a time to find him alone, that they might more 
freely recommend themselves to his prayers. He accepted all 
the commissions they gave him for Heaven, so promptly, and 
promised to pray for them with such charity and conviction, 
that it proved he was sure he would soon depart. He talked 
too of his death just as we should talk of going from one room 
to another. Several Fathers came to see him and to wait upon 
him out of devotion. Among them the most assiduous were 
Father Mutius Fuccioli, the Procurator General, and Father 
Jerome Piatti, who died two months later. On leaving Saint 
Aloysius room he exclaimed to his companion, Father Martin 
Martini: "I tell you Aloysius is a saint, most certainly a 
saint, and so great a saint that he might be canonized in his 
life time." These words were an allusion to those of Pope 
Nicholas V., who in the canonization of S. Bernardine of Sienna, 
said of S. Antoninus, the Archbishop of Florence, who was 
then living and actually present: "I think Antoninus could be 
canonized when alive, just as much as Bernardine who is dead." 
Towards the close of the octave S. Aloysius was generally 
in a perpetual state of contemplation, and kept saying from 
time to time some spiritual word ; frequently too he made ejacula- 
tory prayers. During the three last days, he received from Father 
Guelfucci a bronze crucifix with the Philippine indulgences, 29 
and he held it close to his breast till he died. Several times he 
repeated the protestation of faith, according to the form prescribed 
in the Ritual, and showed a great desire to be united to God, 
frequently saying: " Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo I. wish 
to be dissolved and to be with Christ", and words of that kind. 

The Life of Chap. 


His holy death. 


hen the Octave day of Corpus Christ! arrived, an under- 
infirmarian went at an early hour to the Saint s 
room. He found him as usual, and so said to him:. 
"See now, Aloysius, we are living and not dead, as 
you thought and as you were telling us." He insisted however 
that he would die that day, and the Brother left the room and 
said to the infirmarian: "Aloysius still holds firmly to his 
opinion that he is to die to-day, and yet it seems to me that 
he is better than he was on other days." Another- Father who 
came also to visit him said: "Brother Aloysius, you told me 
that you would jlie in the course of this octave; but now that 
the last day of it has arrived, you appear to me better, and as. 
though there might yet be hopes of life." But Aloysius an 
swered: "Today has not yet passed." 

He spoke still more clearly to another, Father Francis 
Belmisseri, who on entering his room found our Saint suffering 
great pain from a wound in his right side caused by his excessive 
emaciation and from his having lain so long on that side. 
The Father was touched with compassion and told Aloysius 
that though his loss would cause him great grief he desired that 
God would soon deliver him from his pain. The Saint replied 
very gravely: "I shall die to-night." Father Belmisseri again 
insisted that he did not seem to be near death, and the Saint 
twice repeated: "I shall die to-night. I shall die to-night." 

Another Father came to see him who a few days pre 
viously, in the presence of the Father Rector had begged our 
Saint that when his hopes were fulfilled and he had reached 
Heaven, to recommend to God a youth of noble birth, the son 
of a duke , who desired . to leave the world and become a 
religious, and feared to be prevented by his relations. S. Aloysius 
had promised to do so and now when he saw the Father again 
he added: "I remember, I will do it." AVhen he had said this, 
he listened for some time to the Father as he talked to him of 
the life of the Blessed, of the conformity we ought to have to 

XXXI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 235 

God s Will, and how we should desire that all our labours be 
pleasing to the Divine Majesty. Aloysius also strove to say a 
few words on that subject. 

Not long after this, when the infirmarian came near to his 
bedside, S. Aloysius begged that he would see that he might be 
buried in the same grave as Father Corbinelli. As it was not 
the custom for those who died immediately one after another to 
be buried in the same but in different graves, the first in one 

Church "della Disciplina" at Castiglione, 

where S. Aloysius preached. 
(See P. I, note 36. P. II, ch. 21.) 

place and the next in another, S. Aloysius to obtain what he 
desired gave as a reason for his wish that the Father had ap 
peared to him three times, and thus gave full evidence of the 
vision he had seen of Father Corbinelli. 

He spent the whole of the morning in prayer, making 
acts of faith and of adoration with great fervour. Towards 
midday he began to entreat for Holy Viaticum, which indeed he 
had asked for the first thing at dawn. But the infirmarians who 
did not believe him to be dying had paid no attention to 

236 The Life of Chap. 

this request, and as the Saint still continued to beg for Viaticum 
he was told that as he had received It once in the course of his 
illness they did not think he could do so again. S. Aloysius 
answered: "Extreme Unction no, but Viaticum yes", but in 
spite of this, for the time the infirmarians did nothing. 

When the sick man was in this state, Pope Gregory XIV., 
who had, it is believed, learnt from the Cardinal Gonzaga of 
the long illness of the Saint, asked how he was. When he 
heard that Aloysius was dying, he, of his own accord, sent him 
his special blessing and the plenary indulgence. This news 
was brought to S. Aloysius by Father Nicholas Fabrini, the 
Minister of the College. Such was his humility that, delighted 
as he was at receiving this blessing and indulgence, he was so 
confused at hearing that the Holy Father had thought of him, 
that he buried his face in his hands. The Father Minister, in 
order to comfort him, suggested that there was little cause for 
wonder, for the Pope perhaps had been told of his dangerous 
illness and so had been induced to sent him his blessing. 

About six o clock, Father Lambertini his fellow - novice 
came from S. Andrea 33 to visit him, and S. Aloysius begged 
him to entreat the Father Rector to give him the Viaticum, 
which he accordingly did. The Saint then wished to recite the 
litany of the Blessed Sacrament with him and Aloysius an 
swered all through with a clear voice, and at the end he thanked 
him smilingly and with his face more than usually joyful. The 
Father Rector came to bring him the Viaticum and he was 
greatly rejoiced at this. He received It with very great love 
and devotion, and with the firm conviction that he was soon 
to enjoy God in Paradise. All who were in the room and 
who witnessed this act and heard the words: "Accipe, Prater, 
Viaticum Receive, Brother, the Viaticum of the Body of 
Christ Our Lord", were moved to tears. After the Viaticum, 
the holy youth wished to embrace all who were there present, 
and this he did with the greatest joy and charity, which is the 
custom of the Society, when one arrives or is going to any 
place at a distance. As he gave each this last salutation none 
could restrain their grief, and with difficulty tore themselves 
away from him, and all with tenderness and with deep regret 
looked at him again and again, as they commended themselves 
to his prayers. One of these, Gaspar Alpieri, with whom S. 

St. Aloysius. 
From an engraving made from a drawing by the painter Andrew Pozzi, S. J. 

XXXI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 237 

Aloysius had always close relations through a special affection, 
said to him privately that he hoped he was going to enjoy at 
once the Beatific Vision, and on that account he begged him 
to be pleased to remember him, as he knew he had done in 
lifetime, and he implored him to pardon him if he had now and 
again offended him by his failings. S. Aloysius answered him 
with deep feeling that he trusted in the infinite mercy of God s 
goodness, in the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, and in the 
intercession of the Blessed Virgin, that he might go quickly to 
Heaven. He promised that he would not forget him; of that 
he might be quite sure. For if he had loved him here on 
earth, far more would he love him in Paradise, for charity is 
there much more perfect. 

The Saint had his faculties so intact, and spoke so easily, 
that it did not seem likely that he would die very soon. The 
same hour Father Provincial came into his room and said to 
him: "What is Brother Aloysius doing?" "We are going, 
Father;" he replied. "And where?" added the Father. "To 
Heaven", rejoined our Saint. "How, to Heaven?" asked his 
superior. "If my sins do not stop me, I trust in the mercy of 
God to go there." The Provincial turned to some who were 
present, and said in a low voice: "Just hear him! He talks of 
going to Heaven, as we should talk of going to Frascati. What 
is one to do with this Brother? Ought we to put him in the 
common burial-place?" Someone answered that it would 
seem fitting to make special account of his sanctity. 

About 7 o clock I was by Aloysius assisting him in bed, 
with my hand under his head, to relieve his fatigue, while he 
was gazing at and contemplating a small Crucifix which had 
been placed for him upon the bed. He was praying before it 
to gain the plenary indulgence at the hour of death. While he 
was doing so, he raised his hand, and took off his linen night 
cap. I thought it was the action of a dying man and put it 
back on his head without a word. Very shortly after he re 
moved it again, and while replacing it, I said to him: "Leave it 
alone, Brother Aloysius, for fear the evening air should do harm 
to your head." Directing me to the Crucifix with his eyes, he 
answered: "Christ had nothing on His head when He died." His 
words touched me and filled me with devotion and compunc 
tion, for I then perceived that even at that moment his whole 

238 The Life of Chap, 

thought was to imitate Christ on the cross. In the evening at 
the Ave Maria, 8. 1 5 p. m., when we began to discuss in his pre 
sence who was to sit up at night, though he was so fixed in 
contemplation, he said twice to Father Guelfucci who was near 
to him: "Stop with me!" He had promised Father Francis Bel- 
misseri, who was anxious to be with him at his death to warn 
him of its approach; and as if to keep that engagement he 
added: "Take care that you stay!" 

About a quarter past nine the room was full, and as the 
Father Rector saw that S. Aloysius was speaking quite freely, 
he did not believe his prediction that he would die that night. 
He thought he was likely to last out some days, as is often the 
case with persons suffering from fevers of that kind. In con 
sequence, when leaving, he ordered that all should quit the 
room and go to bed. Nor would he, although so earnestly 
entreated by several, give permission to any to stay, for as he 
said, Aloysius was not going to die, and had he thought that 
he was, he would have stayed himself. He gave orders that 
only the Father Minister, Nicolas Fabrini, and Father Guel 
fucci 31 should stay to take care of the sick man. It is easy to 
imagine with what deep feeling and sorrow we all parted from a 
Brother so deeply loved, and whom we all believed for certain 
we never should see again alive. He saw our grief and consoled 
us all by promising that he would remember us in Heaven. He 
begged us to aid him in this his last stage by our prayers, and 
laid different obligations on different people to be performed im 
mediately after his death. Thus with tears in our eyes one by 
one we all left, as we were obliged to do by obedience. 3 2 

Besides the two Fathers, just named, there stayed with him 
Father Bellarmine and Father Vitelleschi. Father Robert said 
to S. Aloysius, that when he thought it was time, he should 
give him notice to say the recommendation of a departing soul, 
and the Saint replied that he would do so. Shortly after he 
said: "Now, Father, it is time", and the Father knelt down with 
the others and went through the prayers. When they were 
finished, as it seemed that the patient might live till the following 
day, the Father Minister begged Bellarmine to go and rest, 
and as the infirmarian said he might safely leave, for Aloysius 
would not die that night, and if he saw any immediate danger 
he would call him, the Father went away. Left alone with the 

XXXI. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 239 

two Fathers, the Saint remained with his heart and mind ever 
lifted up to God; and now and again he kept saying a few 
words taken from Holy Scripture, as "Into Thy hands, Oh 
Lord, I commend my spirit," and others of the same kind. He 
preserved ever the same composure in his face, while those who 
were with him recited for him different prayers, and offered him 
holy water, or gave him the Crucifix to kiss, while they suggested 
holy thoughts to him. When he reached the final pangs of 
death, they knew from the ashy colour of his face, covered with 
drops of sweat, that he was suffering intensely, and they heard 
him in a dying voice beg to be moved a little to another 
position, as for three whole days he had kept always the same. 
They were frightened lest it should hasten his death, and as 
they knew the wish was rather from a natural instinct than from 
his free will, they would not touch him. They reminded him 
of the hard and narrow bed on which Christ, Our Lord, died 
for us, in such discomfort and pain. At the thought of this 
he gazed intently at the Crucifix, and as he could not by words 
express his idea, he signified by signs that he wished he could 
suffer still more for love of God, and it seemed as if he bade 
himself to be quiet, and he kept still. When the Fathers saw 
that he could neither speak nor move any more, they offered 
him a lighted blessed candle, after making the sign of the cross 
over him with it. S. Aloysius grasped it, in sign of persever 
ance in the holy faith, and with it in his hand, a short time 
afterwards he made an effort to invoke the most holy name of 
Jesus. He, at last, just moved his lips, and between 10 and 
1 1 , with perfect peace, he gave up his soul to His Creator. He 
had obtained the grace he had so much desired, to die either 
in the Octave of the Most Blessed Sacrament to which he had 
so great a devotion, or on a Friday in memory of the Passion 
of Our Lord. And in fact he passed from this life at the very 
close of the Octave of Corpus Christi, just when Friday was 
about to begin, the night between the zo th and the 2i st of 
June 33 , in the year 1691. He was twentythree years old, three 
months and eleven days, precisely the same age as was S. Lewis, 
son of Charles II, King of France, a Friar Minor of S. Francis, 
and Bishop of Toulouse, to whom S. Aloysius had no small 
resemblance in several of his virtues. 

240 The Life of Chap. 


The funeral and burial of S. Aloysius. 


J t seemed to the two Fathers who assisted at the 
death of our Saint that they had received a great 
favour from God in having been chosen from so 
many, who had desired it, to be present at the 
happy death of so saintly a youth, especially as he had pro 
mised them before dying to commend them to God as long 
as they lived. Father Minister felt peace of mind and very 
great consolation, and his companion, Father Guelfucci, was 
filled with an unwonted devotion, sorrow for his sins, and the 
desire to serve God, in the way that S. Aloysius had advised 
him. This feeling which was accompanied with many tears 
lasted for several months and years, though not always with 
the same freshness, but more or less according to circumstances. 
He was anxious, on the one hand, out of devotion to the 
Saint, to have some relic of S. Aloysius, but, on the other, he 
did not dare out of reverence to him to take anything off his 
back. So he took, and he still keeps, at the time I am writing 
this, the strings of his shoes, the pens with which he wrote, 
and things of that kind. 

The infirmarians came to wash and lay out the body and 
on lifting the bedclothes in presence of these two Fathers, they 
found on his breast the bronze Crucifix, spoken of above, which 
he had kept there in that way for three days. In stripping the 
corpse they found he had great callosities on his knees, caused 
by the habit he had contracted from childhood of always pray 
ing on his knees. Some out of devotion, cut them off for 
relics which they still preserve. One of these infirmarians, at 
the request of some devout persons, began to cut off a piece 
of flesh. But he grew frightened and took only a morsel of 
skin, which being applied to a sick man immediately cured him 
of his illness. 

S. Aloysius had scarcely breathed his last before those 
who were the most attached to him were informed of it, one 

XXXII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 241 

of the Fathers hastening to them to tell them that our angel 
was in Heaven. All rose from bed filled with devotion, some 
recommended themselves to his prayers, convinced that he was 
already in Heaven; others, again, offering up prayers for him, 
according to a compact they had made with him to pray for 
whoever should be the first of them to die. 

On the morning after, the 2 i st of June, the signal to rise 
had hardly been given when the room in which he lay was 
crowded. All fell on their knees, some praying for him, but 
many more recommending themselves to his prayers. Some 
took possession, by stealth, of his shoes, his shirt, his vest and 
other things from off his body, out of devotion, and even cut 
locks of his hair, his nails, and morsels of his flesh. 

His body was then carried into the domestic chapel inside 
the College, where it remained the whole morning. Many went 
there to see it, and amongst them several of his acquaintances 
who, as a rule, would have been horrified at seeing, and still 
more at touching, a corpse. They knelt, out of devotion, before 
his bier and kissed and embraced him, calling him over and 
over again "Saint, Saint!" That morning, not only in the 
College, but in every other church served by the Society in 
Rome, every Mass was offered on his behalf, although many 
did so rather because of the rule than because they believed 
him in need of prayers. 

None but those who were present can picture the pro 
found impression the death of Aloysius caused throughout the 
College. Nothing else was spoken of but his virtue and his 
sanctity. Each one had something to relate which they had 
noticed in him, but many were more eloquent by their silent 
grief than by any words, as they reflected what a precious jewel 
they had lost, and of what holy society they had on that day 
been deprived. 

In the evening, at a quarter past six, the time fixed for 
the Office of the Dead, the body of the holy youth was taken 
from the chapel and carried to a large hall, where all the 
Fathers and Brothers were assembled. It was not the custom 
to kiss the hand of one who had not been a priest, and had 
only received minor orders: but, by reason of their belief 
in his sanctity, this custom was not observed, and the Fathers, 
one by one, came forward to kiss the hand, before the body 

242 The Life of Chap. 

was taken to the church. This act of devotion being ended, 
the corpse was carried in procession to the church of the 
Annunziata M attached to the College, where the Office of the 
dead was chanted. After the office, the concourse of extern 
students, as well as of other persons, who pressed towards the 
bier to venerate the remains of the Saint, became so great that 
the Fathers were unable to resist it. It was at last necessary 
to close the doors of the church and, on this occasion, there 
was taken from the body, his shirt, his vest, the nails of the 
fingers and two joints of the little finger of the right hand. 

Amongst the crowd was Francis Dietrichstein, afterwards 
Cardinal of Holy Church, Benedict and Philip Gaetani, Julius 
Orsini, and others. One of these, Maximilian Pernstein, a 
Bohemian baron, who died cameriero segreto of Pope Cle 
ment VIIL, I myself saw with a large portion of the habit of 
the Saint in his hand. 

When the question of burial had to be decided, it was the 
opinion of the Fathers of the most authority in the College, 
and especially of Father Robert Bellarmine, that he ought not 
to be buried like the rest, but should be placed in a separate 
coffin, because, having lived with such singular sanctity, they 
believed that God would not fail to make him as illustrious 
after death as he had been hidden and obscure in life. But as 
it was not the practice in the Society to bury the dead in cof 
fins, but simply to lay them in their burial places, the Father 
Rector sent the Minister of the Gesu to ask the advice of 
Father Laurence Maggio, who at that time was Assistant 
of Italy. This Father, having spoken to the Father Gene 
ral, replied that the body might be placed in a coffin, and 
that the Father General all the more willingly dispensed from 
the common custom, because he was so well aware of the 
singular sanctity of the young man. From this we may 
gather how great, even at that time, was his reputation for 
holiness, if only from this unusual mode of burial by which 
they marked the veneration they felt for him. The body was 
placed in a wooden coffin, made on purpose, and was interred 
in the church of the Annunziata, belonging to the Roman 
College, in the chapel of the Crucifix, which is at the left hand 
when entering the church by the principal door, in the vault 
which is on the Gospel side, towards the street. 

XXXII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 243 

For many days in the Roman College they spoke of nothing 
else in conversation but of the virtues of this holy Brother. 
As they no more had him amongst them alive, they began to 
pay him reverence in death. Some of them went everyday to 
his tomb to commend themselves to him and stayed there a 
long while in prayer. Many continued to do this for months 
and years, as long as they remained in Rome. Among these 
was Father John Antony Valtrino, who though he had not 

Hospital of "Santa Maria della Consolazione" at Rome, 

where S. Aloysius nursed those sick of the plague and caught his last illness. 

(See P. II, ch. 26.) 

known him in life, he came from Sicily shortly after his death, 
when he had read the first life which I wrote, conceived such 
a devotion to him, that not content with visiting his tomb every 
day, he used to gather flowers in the garden and scatter them 
over his grave. He said that the virtues by which he was 
adorned as with flowers made him truly worthy of that offering. 
The body of S. Aloysius remained in his coffin for seven 
years, till 1698, when for fear lest in course of time it should 
be confused with the other remains, and because at that time 

244 Tlie Life of Chap, 

the Tiber overflowed, and the water got into that vault, his 
bones were taken out of that coffin, by order of Father General 
Claud Acquaviva, and placed in a smaller one which was depo- 
sited in the same vault, but high up in the wall, at the side of 
the street, on June 22 nd , 1698, Father Antony Spinclli being 
then Rector. The Brother Sacristan relates that when the bones 
were being removed from one coffin to another, they were 
reverently kissed. On this occasion, by permission of the 
Provincial, Father Bernardine Rossignoli, some of the sacred 
relics were taken out, of which a few were distributed in several 
cities in Italy while others were carried to Poland, by Father 
Nicolas Lancisius, and even to India by Father Francis 
Corso. The Provincial took out some for himself, and gave 
some to me and to others who wished for them. I must not 
omit to say, that the Provincial declared that he found the 
bones joined together, the limbs arranged with the same 
modest composure, and the head bent, just as S. Aloysius 
used to be in life; and this struck all who saw it with a great 
feeling of devotion. When God had begun to make known to 
the world the sanctity of S. Aloysius by miracles wrought 
through his intercession, Father Acquaviva ordered that the 
sacred bones should be taken from their resting place and de 
posited in a more honoured position, and distinct from the 
other dead; and I bore this command to Father Bernardine 
Gonfalonieri, the Roman Provincial. In accordance with that 
order on June 8 th , 1602, the remains were with great secrecy 
taken out and carried to the sacristy, and on July i st of that same 
year were placed in a leaden coffin, enclosed in one of wood, 
and laid under the predella of the altar of S. Sebastian in 
the Church of the Roman College, Father Fabius de Fabii 
being then Rector, who was afterwards Assistant of Italy. 

And although this translation was effected with all possible 
secrecy and none had received intimation of it except the of 
ficials who took part in it, yet the devotion of the people knew 
so well how to pursue the investigation that they found out 
the spot where the sacred treasure had been laid. 

At last, as the fame of S. Aloysius holiness increased 
more and more everyday in every part of the world, and the 
miracles which God wrought through his intercession became 
more frequent, Prince Francis Gonzaga, the Saint s brother,. 

XXXII. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. II. 245 

who was then Marquis of Castiglione and Ambassador of the 
Imperial Ambassador, deemed the place where the relics re 
posed to be too lowly. Accordingly, at his request, the Father 
General caused the coffin to be taken up, and opened. AVith 
leave of superiors, Prince Francis took from it some relics for 
the Duke of Mantua and for himself. The skull of the Saint 
was by order of Father General assigned to the Church of the 
Gesu in Rome. Subsequently at the request of the Marquis 
it was given to the Church of the College of the Society in 
Castiglione, where it is still preserved with very great reverence. 

On the i3 th of May, i6o5, the sacred remains were 
carried by priests, accompanied with music and with torches 
and a multitude of lights, to the Chapel of Our Lady in the 
same Church of the Annunziata in which they had before re 
posed, and placed in the wall above ground on the gospel side 
of the altar. And though every endeavour was used to make 
this translation as privately as possible, and though the church 
doors were closed, yet, when the Imperial Ambassador, Prince 
Francis and his lady, the Duke of Poli and other noblemen 
entered the Annunziata, the crowd of people became so great, 
that they began to crush, and a number of Fathers were per 
force occupied a long time in admitting the faithful to kiss and 
reverence the holy relics, and to touch them with their rosaries 
before they were laid in the place prepared for them. And 
there they were deposited , with a picture of the Saint above 
them, a number of ex-votos all around, and a lamp burning be 
fore them; and so they remained greatly honoured and ever the 
centre of a pious crowd, till at length on June i5 th , 1620, they 
were transferred to a chapel built on purpose for them, as 
will be told below. 

May the holy soul of our Saint pray for us in heaven, 
who here on earth venerate his holy relics, and obtain for us 
abundant graces and plentiful merits, that we may be made 
worthy of the promises of the Word made Flesh, to Whom 
with the Father and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory for 
ever and ever. 


Saint Aloysius. I 8 


Shrine beneath the Altar of S. Aloysius 

in the Church of S. Ignatius in Rome. 


Letters written after the death of S. Aloysius. 

fter S. Aloysius had passed to a better life, a number 
of letters were received by his mother, all witnessing 
to the great idea in which he was held for holiness 
at his death. And Father Claud Acquaviva, the 
General of the Society especially, wrote, from Rome, that her 
excellency would have a dear and faithful intercessor in Heaven, 
where there were good grounds to believe, that at that very 
time, his happy and blessed soul was enjoying eternal glory; 
and that he would ever bestow help and comfort upon her and 
the order to which he belonged from Heaven above. 1 

The Rector of the Roman College wrote that Aloysius 
had died so peacefully, and with such external composure, that 
everyone envied, with a holy envy, such a death. And it was 
in perfect keeping with the holy life, which he had led on 
earth, filled as it had been with every virtue. Her Excellency 
and her whole family had reason to rejoice at having sent a 
saint to Paradise, rather than to grieve at the loss of her son. 
The very highest personages bore like witness in their 
letters. Cardinal Jerome della Rovere, first of all, addressed 
the Marchioness as follows: 

The Life of 


Letter of Cardinal Jerome delta Rover e to Donna Martha. 

"On Thursday evening passed to a better life our good 
Father Aloysius, leaving behind him such great regrets and so 
high an opinion of sanctity, that these Fathers have not less 
admired, than they have wept over his holy death. For they 
firmly hold the belief that, he has entered into Eternal Glory. 
You may console yourself for his loss with the thought that 
he will intercede with God for the peace of his brothers, and 
the happiness of his house. Again I pray you to take comfort 
at having a son in Heaven, where I hope he will pray for us all." 
Of the same tenor was a letter of Cardinal Scipio Gonzaga 
addressed to his brother, the Bishop of Mantua, and to the 
Marchioness, wherein he tells them especially that Aloysius has 
gone to a better life, and that his end was so edifying that they 
ought rather to be glad than to grieve at his death. Pope 
Clement VIII. gave weighty evidence what a high idea this 
Cardinal had of the sanctity of Aloysius. For on August 5 th , 
1604, he began quite of his own accord to sound his praises 
to the Marquis of Castiglione, the Imperial Ambassador, he 
bore witness how Cardinal Scipio Gonzaga had several times 
talked about the great holiness of this youth, and how he ha*d 
owned that, at the mere sight of him, he felt his soul touched, 
and was moved even to tears at the extraordinary sanctity he 
beheld in Aloysius. And the Pope in recounting this, and 
hearing additional details of his holy life and miracles, said with 
great feeling and almost crying: "Happy man! who now is en 
joying eternal glory. Often have I thought how was it possible 
for you to escape from so many dangers. This it is for certain 
which has preserved you, and which has given peace to your 
family. You have a good guardian in heaven who will ever 
protect you from any harm. 2 

This was precisely the opinion of Donna Eleanor of Austria, 
the Duchess of Mantua, as may be seen by her letter written 
on this occasion to the Marchioness, and which occurs in her 
printed Life? "When I consider how bitter the grief you must 
suffer at the loss of your son, Don Aloysius, when still so 
young, and when I measure it by what I felt myself, though I 
was not his mother, true I have always loved him as a 
mother, I cannot but condole with you. And not merely 

I. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 251 

with you, but with all your family, for the loss is common to 
us all, in our human nature. To this we cannot resist of our 
own strength, as long as we are in the flesh. Still if we choose 
to consider the matter more reasonably how that blessed soul 
has rent in two the dark veil of the body, and flown to eternal 
glory; if we think that now that he has arrived at the glorious 
end, towards which he was ever hurrying while in this valley of 

which S. Aloysius held constantly to his breast during the last three days before 

his death. 

In the possession of the Aragon Province of the Society of Jesus in Spain. 
(See P. II, chap. 30, 32 and note 29.) 

miseries, he can more quickly and expeditiously bear our prayers 
to his kind Lord, we shall praise and thank God for having 
taken him away in the flower of his age from this earthy slough, 
and made him citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem. For our own 
sakes we shall be consoled, when we see that from being a 
mortal man he has become a heavenly Angel." 

252 The Life of Chap. 

The author of the Life adds: "Signer Aloysius Gonzaga 
was the eldest son of Ferrante, the Marquis of Castiglione, who 
from his cradle led an Angel s life on earth. He renounced his 
Marquisate in favour -of his younger brother, entered the Society 
of Jesus and died about the age of twenty four. Of him is 
verified what the Wise Man says : "Being made perfect in a short 
space, he fulfilled a long time. For his soul pleased God; there 
fore He hastened to bring him out of the midst of iniquities" 

When Eleanor heard of the death of this youth, she said 
a great deal in his praise, and repeated a number of times: 
"He was a saintly young man, and he died a saint." Some 
people recount that she declared in addition that he would be 
the first saint of the family of Gonzaga. 

I will conclude this chapter by a letter from Thomas Man- 
cini 4 to Donna Martha. Pie was present at the burial of S. 
Aloysius, and brings forward some details which then happened: 

"Most illustrious and excellent Lady. 

1 am still in doubt as to whether I should condole with 
or congratulate your Excellency on the holy death of the Blessed 
Father Aloysius. I cannot be sure whether your maternal affection 
will take most into account your own loss or the inestimable 
gain of your son. I grieve for myself in that we are deprive^ 
of the presence of so great a personage. Your Excellency too 
will feel your grief all the more because you were unable to see 
him once at least in the course of his last illness. But I re 
joice much on his behalf; by his holy life he has well deserved 
Heaven, and it is the general belief that he went thither without 
delay, leaving behind him a high reputation for sanctity in 
Rome and throughout the whole world. He could not have 
hoped to acquire a greater, had he lived to the age of Noe, in 
stead of being, as he was, a youth of but twenty three years 
of age. On Thursday evening at a quarter past ten o clock, 
he gave up his soul to God, and yesterday evening, the twenty- 
first of June, he was buried in the church of the College of the 
Gesu, known as the Annunziata. I was present at the time. 
I must not omit to tell you that not only did the Fathers trea 
sure as relics all that he left behind him on earth, but the 
people who were in the church took possession of his habit as 
of something holy and if I said much more than this I should 
be saying nothing but the truth; but I hope you will hear of 

Portrait of St. Aloysius: the first one publicly venerated in Rome. 

From an oil painting in the Gregorian University, Rome. 

(See Appendix c. 5 and Note 4.) 

I. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 253 

this from others, and especially from the Fathers themselves, 
who, better than me, will know how to relate to you what 

No miracle is known to have been wrought by his inter 
cession; perhaps because there has not been any, or perhaps 
they keep it concealed. But as much devotion is shown to him 
publicly as would be shown to a Saint who had wrought 

To-day Saturday the 22 nd , I have just been told that many 
gentlemen have earnestly begged to be given something that 
has belonged to him, which are some of the reasons which make 
me hesitate to grieve on this occasion. Someone has already 
begun to write his life and a copy is promised to my lord 
Cardinal as soon as it is finished. As the Cardinal was like 
one transfixed with grief at the news I gave him of the death, 
he is much consoled at hearing so much of him, and he also 
begs with much earnestness, but with greater reason, for some 
thing that has belonged to this blessed Father. I must not 
forget to tell you that last week when I went to visit the Father, 
he foretold his own death with great joy, and gave me his letters, 
which I sent a week ago to-day addressed with his own hand, 
and he begged me to take care that they should reach their 
destination, telling me they were the last he would write to 
your Excellency and to the Marquis his brother. 

I have written this little for the consolation of your Ex 
cellency who ought to be certainly consoled by it. I must now 
allow others to write who can do so with greater fullness than 
was possible to me. 

I pray you to take comfort, and to offer up prayers to him 
for the peace and prosperity of your noble house, for the inter 
cession of the said Father will be always granted. 

Rome the 22 nd , of June i65i." 

These letters show how great was the idea of the holiness 
of S. Aloysius at the time of his death. 


254 The Life of Chap. 


Cardinal Bellarmine s remarkable testimony to 
S. Aloysius. 


fhe letters already given and which were written 
immediately after the death of S. Aloysius are un 
doubted evidence of the widespread report of his 
sanctity. I now add a witness, already frequently 
cited, as to the interior virtues of the Saint. Cardinal Bellar- 
mine was asked by me to put down in writing anything he re 
membered of that holy Youth, as he had been his director for 
a long time in the Roman College, and as he knew with what 
favours God had enriched that soul. He wrote the following 
statement with .his own hand, and sent it to me at the Gesu 
in Rome, from the Vatican, where he was residing. 

Though the mere statement of a Cardinal, yet owing to 
the dignity of a Cardinal, it is accepted as full proof and 
authority in the Roman Court, according to the teaching of 
the Palermitan 5 and other Doctors-at-law; and this his hand 
writing was quite enough guarantee for me because it was 
that of one so well known for his extraordinary learning and 
holiness; yet as a better attestation of the truth, and so as to 
satisfy everyone, I arranged that his Eminence should attest 
to it on oath before a Notary of the Camera Apostolica. I give 
it without the slightest alteration. 

"My very Reverend Father, 

It is with great pleasure, that I reply to what your Reve 
rence asks of me, as it appears to me that it conduces to the 
glory of our Lord God to make known the gifts of His Divine 
Majesty towards His servants. I was for a long time the con 
fessor of our gentle and holy Aloysius Gonzaga, and I once 
heard the general confession of all his life. He served my 
Mass and conversed freely with me, speaking often with me of 

II. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 255 

the things of God. From these confessions and conversations, 
it seems to me that I can with all truth affirm the following 

Firstly, that he never committed a mortal sin; and this I 
know for certain as regards the period between his seventh 

S. Aloysius. 

From an oil painting in S. Aloysius room in the Roman College, now changed 
into a chapel. 

year and the time of his death. As to the first seven years of 
his life, during which he did not live with the same knowledge 
of God, as he did later on, I hold it as a conjecture, for it is 
not likely that one, whom God destined to such purity, should 
in his infancy have committed a mortal sin. 


The Life of 


Secondly, that from his seventh year, at which date he 
was converted to God as he himself told me, he lived a life of 

Thirdly, that he never experienced any sting of the flesh. 

Fourthly, that in his prayers and contemplations, during 
which he remained kneeling on the ground without support, as 
a rule he was never troubled with distractions. 

Fifthly, that he was a mirror of obedience, humility, morti 
fication, abstinence, prudence, devotion and purity. 

During the last days of his life, he had one night such 
excessive consolation in representing to himself the glory of the 
Blessed, that though he thought it had lasted less than a 
quarter of an hour, it had really lasted nearly the whole night. 

About this same time Father Lewis Corbinelli died; and I 
asked Aloysius what he believed to have been the fate of his 
soul. He confidently answered me in these words: "He has 
merely passed through Purgatory." And knowing as I did his 
disposition, how he was most careful in what he said, and re 
served in stating positively what was doubtful, I hold it for 
certain that he must have known this by divine revelation: but 
I did not venture to ask further, lest I should give occasion 
to vanity. Many more things I could relate, but which I pass 
over for fear of not remembering exactly. 

Finally, I believe that he went straight to Heaven, and I 
have always scrupled to pray to God for the repose of his 
souls for it seemed to me that this would be to underrate the 
graces of God which I had seen in him. On the contrary I 
have never scrupled to recommend myself to his prayers, and 
I have great confidence in them. 

May your Reverence pray for me. 

From my apartment in the palace, Oct. the 17. 1601. 
Your Reverence s most affectionate brother 
in Christ 

Ill- . S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 257 


Miracles and Favours wrought by the intercession of 
S. Aloysius. 

ather Contini 6 , known as a learned theologian, after 
a careful study of the processes and documents 
bearing on the holiness of S. Aloysius, pronounced 
the following opinion on the subject of his cano 
nization; "I consider this our Brother to be most holy, and 
worthy to be placed on the list of the Saints, because the gifts 
conferred upon him by God were greater than if he had even 
raised the dead to life." 

And this was endorsed by the Rota, the tribunal before 
which the causes of Beatification and Canonization were then 
brought. This court, the highest in the Christian world, did not 
hesitate to declare that "the holiness of this earthly angel had 
made itself known throughout the whole world, by glorious 

The immense array of attested miracles, deposed to on 
oath before the various tribunals, and which fill over eighty of 
the folio pages of the Bollandist, not to speak of more recent 
prodigies narrated by Boero, creates a difficulty as to selection. 
Without pretending to choose cut of the number those which 
are the best authenticated, or which are the most striking in 
their character, those have been here recorded which appear to 
be of special interest to our readers. On April 8 th , 1599, but 
four days after the vision of S. Mary Magdalen, God glorified 
S, Aloysius by a miracle which stands first among the fifteen 
approved by the Holy See for his canonization. Angelo Car- 
lini, a young nun of the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, 
Florence, had during four months been suffering secretly from 
a terrible cancer in the breast. While making her annual re 
treat, the Sister felt she was bound to reveal her illness. The 

. a ) As F. Cepari s life was published at so early a date after the death of the 
Ssamt, the example of FF. Boero and Clair has been followed and this chapter has 
been entirely re-written. 

25 8 The Life of Chap, 

prioress and S. Mary Magdalen, of Pazzi, who examined her, 
found that the cancer was of the same kind as that which had 
proved fatal to another nun but a short time before. The relic of 
S. Aloysius was applied, and the pain instantly ceased, which 
till then had been most acute. But the root of the evil 
was untouched. The next day the surgeons were^ to be 
called in. The poor sufferer prayed vehemently to S. Aloy 
sius to be spared this trial, and earnestly wished at the same 
time that God might be glorified in his angelic servant. 
That very evening as she was alone in her cell, she seemed to 
hear within her soul these words of S. Aloysius: "You 
have such faith in me and my intercession, so great a desire 
and thirst that God should manifest the glory He has bestowed 
on me, that His Divine Majesty deigns to grant you the favour 

you ask." 

Instantly she felt a most intense agony, as if the cancer 
had been plucked out by the roots, and she fell in a swoon to 
the floor; and in fact that very moment it entirely disappeared. 
The sisters found her lying as if dead. They gently raised 
her up and placed her on her couch. When she came round 
a little, she whispered to her superioress: "Mother, I am cured." 
Very soon, she was quite herself again, and could tell, to the 
joy of all, the grace she had received. The nuns would that 
very evening have erected an altar to S. Aloysius, and it took 
all the authority of F. Cepari to prevent this premature act of 
religious veneration. 

The news of the vision and of the miracle reached Mantua 
and Castiglione, and the Duke and Duchess and Prince Francis 
were moved by these marvels to push forward the first official 
process of their Saintly relative. 

The first to suspend a votive picture at the tomb of the 
Saint, was Serafina Mancini, 7 the servant of a lady named Victoria 
Alpieri. The girl had a great devotion to S. Aloysius, and never 
let a morning go by without paying a visit to his tomb. Her 
mistress was at death s door by a miscarriage, and the doctors 
gave her no hope of life. Serafina turned to her patron, and 
promised to give an ex-voto in his honour, if the lady were saved. 
That very moment the sufferer was rescued from all danger. 
Serafina herself in after years was herself cured instantaneously 
by the intercession of the Saint, after a long illness; and in 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 259 

the process at Castiglione she gave evidence of a miracle 
similar in almost all respects to that wrought on the nun at 
Florence. In fact it was her narrating that wonder to Frances 
Matthioli, a girl at Tivoli, which induced the poor sufferer, to 
invoke with such success the aid of the angelic Saint. 

A gentleman of Rome, Caspar Palloni, a man advanced 
in years, suffered constantly from an intense pain in the back, 
especially when kneeling. Once while praying at "the Forty 
Hours", in the Oratory of San Marcello, which is not far from 

Reliquary with a picture of S. Aloysius painted on ivory, 

which was one of the first to be honoured. 
Now in the chapel of the college of the "Virgins of Jesus." 

the Church of the Roman College, he was attacked by tortures 
so vehement that he vowed an ex-voto to S. Aloysius, if he 
could find relief. The pain went at once, and with it too the 
memory of his promise. Some months later the suffering 
returned. There was a great festival going on at the Annunziata, 
in honour of the new Beato, and this reminded Caspar that 
possibly his broken pledge had to do with the fresh attack. 
He fulfilled his promise and never again suffered from the same 
malady. Don Caspar became an apostle of S. Aloysius power 
with God. He persuaded another gentleman, Horace Petronio 8 , 
who was a victim to his old malady, te seek the same remedy, 

260 The Life of Chap. 

and with like success. They both made formal depositions 
respecting their cure, which are backed by the evidence of 
several eminent medical men of the time. 

Alphonsus, the brother of Don Ferrante, a gay and 
brilliant soldier, held the fief of Castel GofTredo. He had but 
an only child left ,to him, and, as has been seen, he hoped 
to marry her to Rodolph, on whom his Castle and estates 
would necessarily devolve. Rodolph s marriage with the beautiful 
Helen Aliprandi disappointed all his hopes, and Alphonsus 
exerted his influence with the Emperor to alienate the fief in 
favour of his daughter. A fierce family quarrel ensued, and one 
day Alphonsus was brutally murdered by a band of assassins. 
Their chief brought the tidings of his death to Rodolph, who 
instantly marched on Castel Goffredo and forced the citizens 
to admit him. Naturally enough suspicion fell upon him. The 
case was tried, and he was acquitted. But his harshness to 
the widow and daughter of Alphonsus excited the anger of 
his new vassals. An accusation was made against him, appa 
rently unjustly, that he had been coining papal money at his 
mint of Castiglione. Summoned to Rome to answer the charge, 
he declined to go, as he thought it was but a feint of his 
enemies. He fell in consequence under an excommunication, 
and on January 3 1 st , 1593, while entering the Church of 
Castel Goffredo for Mass he was shot on the very threshold. 
This was the signal for a revolt, and the peasants from the 
country-side and the towns -folk together pillaged the Castle 
armoury, and with the weapons so obtained attacked the soldiers 
of the garrison. Don Francis in turn treated harshly the poor 
widow of his brother Rodolph. All this was a terrible sorrow 
to the Dowager Marchioness who was just then rejoicing at the 
wonderful miracles wrought by her son. 

But four year s later while staying at Solferino with her 
youngest child, Diego, a boy of 14, the Castle was scaled by 
a band of brigands who carried her and her son off to Castig 
lione, in the hope that by her means they could yet an entrance 
into the Castle there, and put to death the whole reigning 
family. Donna Martha refused to ask for the gates to be 
opened, even though her. life was threatened. The leader of 
the band bade her get down from the horse on which she had 
been placed with her son, and ordered one of his men to shoot 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 261 

Diego. The poor boy ran to his mother s arms and there re 
ceived his deathwound. The ruffians then fell upon the mother, 
stabbed her again and again, and left her for dead on the 
ground. A citizen of Castiglione happened to pass by, and 
took the poor lady into his house. Her sorrow alone was enough 
to cause her death. She received all the last Sacraments, and 
those around her bed were expecting every moment to be her 
last. Her mind remained however perfectly clear. 

Cardinal Scipio Gonzaga. 
From an engraving in the work: "Scipionis Gonzaga Cardinalis Commentariorum 

Rerum Suarum. Libri Tres." (Romse, 1791.) 
(See P. I, ch. n, 17 and note 37. P. II, ch. 28. P. Ill, ch. i.) 

Suddenly, as she told Father Cepari, she beheld her 
Aloysius, surrounded by a globe of most vivid light. He did 
not say a word, but he gazed upon her for a time with his 
sweet smile, and then left her full of confidence and consolation. 
Till then her grief had been too great for tears; but now her 
heart was relieved by a tranquil flow of tears. She was cured, 
and, to the amazement of all, she got up, a few days after 
wards, perfectly well. Her confidence was not belied, for she 

Saint Aloysius. 


The Life of 


lived to a hale old age and saw her son Francis honoured by 
his Sovereign, the Emperor, established in peace in his ancestral 
"States, and beloved by his once turbulent vassals. 

It was to the intercession of S. Aloysius that Pope Cle 
ment VIII. ascribed the safety of Prince Francis, whose life had 
been sought at the terrible attack upon the Castle which followed 
the death of his brother, Don Diego. He asked him, when in 
1603 he came as Imperial Ambassador Extraordinary to Rome 
if he were any relative to the holy young religious of his name 
who had died some years before at the Roman College. When 
the Prince said he was his brother, his Holiness said: "Many a 
time I have thought how was it possible for your Lordship to 
have passed unscathed through so many perils. Now I am sure 
that you owe it all to the prayers of your blessed brother." 

The ill-starred widow of Rodolph was consoled at her 
death by him who had been so true a brother and friend to 
her in life; while one of her holy daughters, Cynthia, solemnly 
attested in a juridical process that, in a moment of extreme 
pain, the portrait of her saintly uncle had freed her instantly, 
and. restored her at once to health. So too in i6o5, Vincent, 
Duke of Mantua, was delivered from an attack of gout, by a 
relic of his kinsman. 

That same year a silver lamp was sent as an ex-voto to 
the tomb of S. Aloysius from far-off Poland. The Marshal 
of Poland, Sigismund Myszkovsky, Marquis of Myrov chanced 
to meet, at Prague, William Sanclemente, the Spanish Am 
bassador to the Imperial Court. Sigismund had, by favour of 
the Duke of Mantua, been allowed to adopt the name of 
Gonzaga. Sanclemente gave him a MS. life of S. Aloysius, in 
which Sigismund naturally, took great interest, and with it an 
engraving of the Saint. The Polish Marquis was sent from 
Prague by his Sovereign to Carinthia to claim for him the hand 
of his chosen bride. 9 At Budweis in Bohemia, he was seized 
by a violent illness which completely baffled the skill of the 
doctors. In the night, sleepless with pain, the memory, of the 
Saint came back to the Marquis and holding his picture in his 
hands he earnestly implored the aid of S. Aloysius. At once 
he fell into a soft slumber which lasted far on into the day 
light, and he awoke perfectly cured. This happened on the 
n th of October i6o5, and on the return of the Ambassador 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 263 

to Cracow, in the following February, at the request of Father 
Striverio, the Provincial of the society in Poland, he made a 
solemn attestation to these facts in presence of the Suffragan 
Bishop of Cracow. 

Nor did S. Aloysius forget his faithful attendants. Camilla 
Ferrari his nurse, in the same year as that of the previous 

CATHARINA DEPAZZI5 flon-ntmo Atmwlu OnLB-MVde Man* Carmebfacta An. r ftt j 
Cataityo adjcrtpta Ann 

S. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, 

in her i;th year, before her entry into the Carmelites. 

After the original picture which Sanctes Titi painted from life in 1583. 

(See Appendix, ch. i.) 

miracle, after having been ill for eight years, was at her last 
extremity. She invoked the Saint, and as the Rota declares in 
its authentication of the miracle, at that instant every vestige of 
her fever and sickness disappeared, and she was completely 
restored to health. Nor was this the only time she experienced 

264 The Life of Chap, 

the Saint s protection. Her son, then a boy, and her daughter, 
who was at school at the College of the Virgins of Jesus, were 
both, at separate times, given up by the doctors, and by her 
prayers to S. Aloysius both recovered. 

Clement Ghisoni, who has been mentioned more than once 
as the valet of our Saint, had been chosen Majordomo of Prince 
Francis di Gonzaga, and was with him in that capacity at Rome 
in 1606. He was making up his accounts, when to his horror, 
he found himself short by the sum of 5oo scudi. Three whole 
weeks he sought for them in vain. Disgrace and worse was 
staring him in the face; he thought of his old master and kneel 
ing down begged him not to refuse to do him a service for 
the many which his faithful servant had done him in life. He 
felt his prayer was heard, and went to bed with his mind at 
rest. At daybreak he heard the well-known voice of S. Aloy 
sius bidding him to go and look at his account book, and he 
would find therein what was missing. Clement went at once, 
and at the first page at which he opened the ledger, he read. 
"October 3 rd . 5oo scudi for expenses at court." 
Clement showed his gratitude by deposing to the fact on 
oath, and hanging up an ex-voto at the tomb of the Saint. 

Naturally enough S. Aloysius did not forget those who 
were bound to him by the triple cord of religious brotherhood; 
and as naturally the members of the Society of Jesus turned 
confidently to him for help in their needs. A scholastic of the 
noble Genoese family of Giustiniani had been attacked on the 
3*d of June, i6o5, by a most painful and dangerous disease. 
Cardinal Giustiniani, his relative, hearing of his desperate con 
dition sent his medical man, Dr. John Baptist Ori to see the 
patient. The physician gave him up for lost. This was on 
June the 13*. Brother John Giustiniani, the sufferer, begged 
that he might be carried to the tomb of the Saint. There in 
spite of his condition, he stayed a long time, in earnest prayer. 
Again- and again with southern ardour, he kissed the ground, 
and he promised Aloysius if he would but obtain his cure, never 
to let a day pass during the coming year, provided he stayed 
in Rome, without visiting the tomb, and every day of his life 
to say in his honour five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys. 

Wearied with his long prayer, and with his exertions, he 
was brought back in a lamentable condition to his bed. That 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 265 

evening a Father Basil Romano, who had never been to see 
John before during his illness, came to tell him that while in 
prayer, he had felt a constraining power which forced him to 
bring to the sick man a promise on S. Aloysius part that he 
would be well on the morrow. 

S. Aloysius, drawn by S. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, after her vision. 

The original picture is in the possession of the Carmelites of S. Mary Magdalen of 

Pazzi, called Barberine, at Santa Pudenziana in Rome. 

(See Appendix, ch. i.) 

The morrow came, and so much worse had the Brother 
become, that the medical man ordered that all the last rites 
should be administered at once. The infirmarian brought the 
news. John sent immediately for his Confessor, while the 


The Life of 


preparation for Viaticum and Extreme Unction were being made. 
His confession over, the sufferer signed himself with a relic of 
the Saint. The promise was instantly fulfilled. Far from receiv 
ing the last Sacraments, John arose perfectly free from all 
suffering or disease. He hastened to the tomb of his deliverer 
to make his thanksgiving. On the 2i st with his own hands, he 
hung up an ex-voto at the Saint s shrine. And this marvellous 
cure was but the first of a long list of favours wrought by 
S. Aloysius in behalf of inmates of the Roman College. 

At the Gesu, which had been for some time the home of 
our Saint, like wonders were performed. 

These are but a few of the miracles attested to which 
S. Aloysius wrought in numerous houses of the Society. Two 
only of these can find place in these pages. 

One of the fellow-novices of S. Aloysius was a Cambridge 
man, William Flack, a native of Norwich, who after studying at the 
College of Rheims for two years, left France for the Venerable 
English College at Rome in 1684. The following year he was 
received by Father General Acquaviva into the society of Jesus, 
and passed the second year of his noviciate with our Saint in 
the house of the Gesu. Being a man of good business habits, 
the establishment of the English College at S. Omers had been 
intrusted to him. He was also for a short time Rector of the 
House of the third Probation founded by the widowed Countess 
of Arundel at Ghent. While there in his old age, when 
past 70, he was afflicted by a most painful and dangerous ma 
lady, which all the skill of the medical men and the waters of 
Spa, could neither alleviate or remedy. On the eve of S. Aloy 
sius feast, in 1632, he had spent the night in such torture that 
as soon as the day dawned he summoned Father Edward Silis- 
don (vere Bedingfield) to hear his general confession, as he 
felt death was near. His confession was interrupted by cries 
of help to B. Aloysius wrung from him by the agony of his 
sufferings. He vowed at the suggestion of Father Silisdon to 
offer as an ex-voto at the picture of S. Aloysius, in the chapel 
of the house, the only thing of any value he possessed and 
which he very greatly prized, a reliquary he had carried about 
him for many years. He had only asked for relief, but he in 
stantly obtained complete cure. Within an hour he was up and 
dressed, and, to the amazement of all the community, appeared 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 267 

in the chapel and fulfilled his vow. The case was juridically 
examined and the evidence of Father James Battain, a tertian 
who was nursing the sick Father, and- of Father Flack himself 
is given in full in the Bollandists. The good old man died 
some five years later at S. Omers, of no other illness, save 
old age. 

Old Father David Papebrock, one of the most famous 
of the Bollandists, worn out with a life of labour, of penance, 
and of prayer, had lost his sight. It was of all trials the most 
severe to so indefatigable a student. For four years cataract 


in which is kept the picture of S. Aloysius by S. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. 
(See Appendix, ch. I.) 

in both eyes made him stone-blind. He had laboured at the 
life of S. Aloysius, and cheered by the story of the miraculous 
cure of Wolfgang, he determined, trusting in S. Aloysius inter 
cession, to place himself in medical hands. In spite of his age, 
the operation proved perfectly successful. One day when his 
fellow Bollandist, Father Janning, entered his room, Father 
Daniel exclaimed with joy: "I see quite plainly your Reverence 
and everything in the room!" Full of gratitude he used after 
wards often to say that S. Aloysius had given him back his 
sight that he might employ it for the benefit of the Saints 
fellow-citizens in heaven. 

268 The Life of Chap. 

Very naturally the solemn declaration of the Church that 
S. Aloysius was patron of young students showed her desire 
that the angelic youth should be to them, as is said in the 
Office of his feast, "a pattern of innocence and of chastity". 
Numerous are the examples recorded of the protection which 
he has extended to both young and old against dangers far 
more to be dreaded than any ills of the body. And many are 
the instances, carefully verified and stated in detail, where he 
has enabled souls to pass unscathed through the fire of temp 
tations from within and from without. 

In him were joined in a singular degree innocence and 
penance; and again his power is manifested in bringing back 
to God souls who had deliberately given themselves up to the 
indulgence of their passions, and on whom no wholesome in 
fluence seemed any longer to have power. 

Many too has he encouraged to follow him along the 
narrow way up which he so boldly climbed, to trample under 
foot the charms and seductions of the world, and give them 
selves up entirely to God in religious life. 

Father Cepari gives a list of forty four cures authentically 
attested 10 as having happened at Castiglione which showed 
at once the devotion of the people to their old master, and his 
special affection to his former vassals. 

To bring the chapter to a conclusion, we will give two 
examples in which S. Aloysius delivered his clients from pain 
much keener to holy souls than any physical suffering. John 
Janthynsky, a very pious Jesuit Novice at Cracow, had led a life 
of great innocence and penance from childhood. Suddenly in 
the quiet and amid the graces of his noviciate, he was attacked 
at the time of prayer with all sorts of ideas against God, Our 
Lady and the Saints. So constant, so terrible were they that 
his devotions became a burden and a torture to him. He 
prayed and prayed hard to be freed; but all in vain. Once he 
recalled that he had read in a life of our Saint, that he had 
delivered persons who had been afflicted like himself. Immediately 
he turned in great confidence to S. Aloysius, and pleaded 
hard for relief from his woes. He felt at once a lightness of 
heart, the first sundering of the cloud, and before long all was 
bright and calm as before. 11 

III. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. III. 269 

Another religious who had lived a long time, without a 
symptom of temptations of the flesh, began to be worried al 
most to desperation with constant and most terrible assaults 
in body and mind. Fasts, disciplines, hairshirts gave him no 
help. He would sometimes get up from table, or break off a 
conversation, to cry his heart out for trouble, and would throw 
himself down prostrate on the ground, and conjure God to have 
pity on him and deliver him. For a long year this trial lasted. 
One day he read of the marvellous gift of chastity of S, 
Aloysius, and full of confidence that he would obtain for him 
some share in his privilege, he hung a relic of the Saint around 
his neck and straightway the temptations vanished. After two 
years had passed without any recurrence of his troubles, he 
made a deposition as to the grace received and sent off an 
ex-voto to the Saint s tomb. 

The Cultus of S. Aloysius 

after his death. 

Interior of the Church of S. Ignatius at Rome, 
in which is the Shrine of S. Aloysius. (See P. II, note 34.) 


Aloysius venerated by a Saint after his death. 

i5 99 . 

he Son of God once said: "He that shall humble 
himself shall be exalted" (S. Math, xxm, 1 2). This 
saying was verified in the young Prince Aloysius 
Gonzaga, when he humbled himself in the eyes of 
men by embracing a life of evangelical poverty, mortification, and 
contempt of the world. It had seemed to Don Ferrante that 
the glory of his house would be eclipsed. But, on the contrary, 
this was precisely the moment when the star of the Gonzagas of 
Castiglione began to shine with a brilliancy, which will go on 
increasing to the end of time. The object of this appendix is 
to demonstrate this. 

Immediately after the death of S. Aloysius, as was seen 
in Part III, those with whom he had lived were convinced that 

274 Appendix. Chap, 

his soul had entered at once into its reward in Heaven. But 
this was merely a human opinion, and confined within the 
limits of his former home. God had reserved to Himself the 
glorification of His servant, and as is His way, He chose for 
His instrument that which was feeble, humble and of no ac 
count on earth. 

Father Cepari was, in 1699, Rector of the Jesuit College 
in Florence, and held the important office of extraordinary 
confessor to the Convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, impor 
tant because one of its inmates was the seraphic S. Mary 
Magdalen de Pazzi. He had lent the community his MS. 
life of S. Aloysius, which he had written before the death of the 
Saint, as he states in the introduction. The book had filled the 
nuns with devotion to the angelic youth. The Father had also 
given a relic, a bone of one of the fingers of the young Saint 
to S. Mary Magdalen. On the 4 th of April of the same year 
she was in the act of dividing it among the eager sisters, when 
suddenly she was rapt into an ecstasy and God opened to her 
eyes the glory of S. Aloysius. Owing to the great frequency 
of these marvellous occurrences the sisters had for some time 
ceased to note down the words which fell from the lips of 
S. Mary Magdalen in her raptures. But the Mother Prioress 
Sister Evangelista del Giocondo, bade a Sister Mary Pacifica 
to take down what the Saint was then saying, as she felt 
that these words might prove important evidence of his sanctity. 
"O! how great is the glory of Aloysius, the son of S. Ignatius! 
Never would I have believed it, if Thou hadst not shown it 
to me, O Jesus! - - It seems to me that I might say that 
there cannot be such great glory in Heaven, as I see Aloysius 
possesses. I assert that little Aloysius is a great Saint. - 
We have Saints in the Church, who I believe do not possess 
such glory. I should like to go over the whole world and 
proclaim that Aloysius, the son of Ignatius, is a great Saint, 
and 1 should wish to show his glory to everyone, that God 
might be glorified. - - He has such glory because his life 
was hidden. Who ever could tell the worth and power 
of internal actions? There is no comparison between those 
which are external and those which are internal. Aloysius, 
while on earth had his heart" (literally bocca, his mouth) 
"open to the AVord, and that is why he has such glory. - 

I. Appendix. 275 

Aloysius, was an unknown martyr. For whoever loves Thee, 
my God, knows Thee to be so great and infinitely worthy of 
love, that it is a great martyrdom to see that Thou art not 
loved , as he would wish and desire to love Thee , and that 
Thou art not known by Thy creatures, not known, nay 
offended. - - He martyred himself too. - - O, how he loved 
when on earth! But now he possesses God in heaven in the 
fulness of perfect love. During his mortal life his acts of love 
and of union were like a shower of arrows with which he- 
pierced the heart of the Divine Word. Now these arrows are 
returning again into his own heart by those communications 
of love, which they have merited and which he is tasting and 
understanding in heaven." 

She saw the Saint praying in heaven for all those who 
had been spiritually helpful to him. Hence she said "I too 
will do my utmost to help souls, so that when they get to 
Paradise they may pray for me, as Aloysius does for those 
who had been useful to him on earth. Amen." a ) These 
passages are taken from the account mentioned above. This 
was not however by any means the only vision of the kind, for 
one of S. Mary Magdalene s companions told Father Cepari that 
the Saint had often seen the soul of S. Aloysius in great glory, 
and that it was very dear to God. b ) But during this ecstasy 
the spiritual joy and consolation that she experienced was so 
great that when she came to herself she was heard to exclaim. 
"Alas! my God why hast Thou broken the compact Thou 
madest with me, who for the love of Thee have renounced all 
satisfactions?" And in order that a thing so honourable to 
S. Aloysius might not be without a witness from the hand of 
the Saint herself, God inspired her when the rapture was passed, 
and while the form in which she had seen him was still fresh 
in her memory, to make a sketch of it on paper. In this 
sketch, although he had not yet been beatified, she represented 
him, as he had appeared to her, with a circle of rays round his 
head. This portrait is still preserved in the Carmelite Convent 
called the Barberine in Rome, which was an offshoot of that 
of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. These nuns, by 
their traditions, so devoted to S. Aloysius, willingly lent me 

T> VTT? C cdni Process - Florent., p. no (reverse), in, 112, 113. - b) Summar. 
Tit. ^ II, 5, p. 2 5I _ 2 63. 

276 Appendix. Chap. 

their treasure to enable me to present the copy of it at p. 265. 
May the Saint who three hundred years ago bestowed such a 
favour upon them, now deliver them from those who so cruelly 
oppress them! 

S. Aloysius venerated by ecclesiastical bodies. 

have already seen how S. Aloysius appeared first 
to his mother in his glorified state, a ) and with such 
great consolation restored her to health. But in 
her humility the noble lady seems to have kept this 
secret, leaving it to God to manifest the praise of his servant 
in His own time. This time had at length arrived. Now that 
S. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi had seen him in this glory and the 
whole Convent four days later had witnessed the astounding 
miracle b ) wrought by his invocation, many began to speak of 
his virtues and the holiness of his life. The fame of his sanc 
tity and of his power as an advocate spread rapidly from one 
place to another, from Florence and Castiglione to Mantua, 
Brescia and Rome. In Castiglione and elsewhere the efficacy 
of his invocation was proved by miracle after miracle. We 
have already alluded to several. ) Votive tablets kept arriving 
from all parts at Rome to be placed around his tomb , as 
trophies of his power and tokens of the gratitude of his clients. 
The Fathers of the Society of Jesus found it almost impossible 
to persuade the devotion of the people to wait until the Church 
had spoken. d ) They felt sure that one who was so highly honoured 
by God must be recognized as a Saint by the Church. 

The popular sentiment received its first important confir 
mation at the provincial congregation of the Venetian Province 
of the Society of Jesus which took place at Piacenza in 1603. 
The first of the subjects proposed for discussion was, whether 
action should be taken to bring forward the cause of the Bea 
tification of Brother Aloysius, who had died in the flower of 

a) P. Ill, ch. in, p. 261. b) P. Ill, ch. in, p. 258. c) P. Ill, ch. m, p. 268. 
d) Cod. Coccini. Proc. Rom. Test. X, pp. 108, 109. 

II. Appendix. 277 

his youth. Father Cepari who had been traversing the whole 
of Lombardy in order to collect materials for writing the life 
of the Saint was one of the members of this assembly. He 
laid before the Fathers the Acts of the Ecclesiastical Process 
which had been gone through at Venice, Bologna, Turin, Padua, 
Mantua, Piacenza, Rome, Brescia, Modena, and other places. 
Twenty five of these Fathers had known S. Aloysius personally; 
and the rest who had not were filled with a holy envy of those 

Bibiana Pernstein, wife of the Marquis Francis Gonzaga, brother of 
S. Aloysius, with her daughters. 

From an oil painting in the old Capuchin Church of Santa Maria della Noce at 
Castiglione. (See P. I, note 4. Appendix, ch. 3.) 

who had enjoyed this privilege. All believed him to be a Saint, 
whose sanctity had been attested by miracles. The proposal 
that a petition should be sent to the Father General Acquaviva 
was voted unanimously and with the greatest enthusiasm. In 
this petition he was entreated to solicit the permission of the 
Holy Father to allow the introduction of his cause and, if it 
seemed well to him, to proceed to his Beatification. 21 ) 

a) Bolland. 1. c., p. 857. 

Saint Aloysius. 

278 Appendix. Chap. 

This formal manifestation of the Fathers of the Society 
of Jesus in favour of their young companion, together with the 
growing fame of his sanctity and his miracles, had the effect 
of stirring up Francis Gonzaga, Bishop of Mantua, who has 
been mentioned in the Life of S. Aloysius., to exert himself in 
promoting the cause of his friend and kinsman. With this object 
in view he called together in the year 1604 a diocesan Synod 
in Mantua to which, besides the canons and other secular priests 
of the diocese, he also invited the superiors of all the religious 
houses and colleges of the regular clergy. When all were as 
sembled on the 1 2 th May, Canon Arrigone, vested in a dalmatic, 
delivered from the pulpits an eloquent discourse. He com 
menced by describing the spiritual conquests of S. Aloysius and 
the noble example which he had left behind him for present 
and for all future times. Then he proceeded to inform the 
Fathers that the Bishop had thoughts of taking action in Rome 
for the Beatification of the young Confessor, and begged for 
their opinion on the subject. The whole assembly, as was to 
be expected, gave consent by acclamations. It was resolved that 
an earnest and humble petition should be addressed to the Holy 
See praying that S. Aloysius might be enrolled among the Saints, 
for the glory of God , for his own honour and that of the city 
and diocese of Mantua, and for the edification of the whole 
Christian world. a ) This resolution publicly adopted by a dio 
cesan synod soon became known throughout the whole of 
Italy. The veneration for S. Aloysius took deeper root and 
spread rapidly. The Bishops of Lombardy gave permission 
for his invocation -under the title of the Blessed Aloysius 
Gonzaga, and an engraving of him was circulated with an in 
scription to that effect. He was represented in the religious habit, 
his head encircled with an aureole, while over him an Angel 
holds a crown of lilies. His eyes are fixed on a crucifix and his 
coronet lies at his feet. The first of these prints was brought 
out in the year 1604 by the Duchess Margaret of Ferrara. In 
the following year Vincent Duke of Mantua had a copy made 
of it in that city. Similar prints, soon appeared in Bologna and 
in Rome and passed from hand to hand. The more these en 
gravings were disseminated and venerated, so much the more 

a) Bolland. pp. 859. 860. 

Appendix. 279 

did the miracles wrought through the invocation of the Saint 
increase. a ) 

The multiplication of these favours and the example of the 
Venetian Province caused the Fathers of the Neapolitan Pro 
vince also to exert themselves to the utmost of their power to 
obtain the glorification of their Brother in religion. They were 
proud of having once received him for six months in one of their 
houses, and had the privilege of seeing his virtues and example. 
When, in the May, 1606, the representatives of this Province met 
at Naples in the usual provincial congregation. They sent to the 
Father General a joint petition, a project in which all united, in 
which they begged him to represent to the Holy See "summis 
precibus", their wish that he would crown the work he had so 
lovingly begun, and would number among the Saints the holy 
youth, on whom he had already conferred the title of Blessed. b ) 
The Province of Milan took a further step in this affair. 
During the February of the same year, when a Congregation 
was being held at Milan, the Procurators of that Province 
drew up a petition, destined to be addressed directly to the 
Holy Father, to whom it was to given by the Father General. 
"S. Aloysius on his Mother s side belonged to Piedmont", they 
said, "which forms a part of the Milanese Province. He lived 
a good deal at Milan before he entered religion, as well as 
after he had joined the Society, and has left us all an admirable 
example of virtue and earned a reputation for sanctity, which 
lasted until his death, as we well know, and has since gone on 
increasing. This fame of his sanctity is enhanced by miracles, 
which take place at his tomb in Rome, and also in this, and 
in more distant Provinces. On this account the Congregation 
of the Province of Milan has determined to give to the Pope 
Paul V., by these presents, in the name of the whole Province, 
this public testimony to the sanctity of Aloysius, and humbly 
and most earnestly to entreat him to place among the Saints 
here on earth one who most certainly ranks amongst the Blessed 
in Heaven, as his sanctity is confirmed day by day by many and 
undoubted miracles." ) 

Such a public manifestation and such expressions could 
not fail to succeed, as was proved by the result. 

a) Bolland. pp. 861, 862. b) Bolland. p. 874. - c) Bolland. p. 874. 

280 Appendix. Chap. 

After his death, Aloysius honoured by the catholic world. 

e diocesan Synod of Mantua had, on the iz th of 
May, 1604, solemnly declared, that the wonderful 
holiness of the servant of God ought to be brought 
_ to light by the Father of all Christians, and made 

known to the whole world. These words were as a spark that 
kindled a great fire in Italy. 

The greatest enthusiasm was shown by the inhabitants of 
Brescia, and chiefly by the students. They resolved to cele 
brate with festivities the day of the death of the young Confessor, 
who was a native of their neighbouring town of Castiglione. 
With the Bishop s leave, the rejoicings were held in the Church 
of the Society of Jesus, with a solemn Mass on June the 2 i st . 
Public thanksgivings were offered for the honours conferred on 
Aloysius, and for the same intention numbers received Holy 
Communion on that day. A magnificent panegyric of the Saint 
was pronounced by a Dominican Father, brought from Reggio 
for that purpose, which caused deep emotion among the hearers. 
In the afternoon the students honoured S. Aloysius by a 
grand "Accademia" at which the Governor of the city and the 
nobility assisted. Speeches, music and poetry were all employed 
to honour the virtue and sanctity of Aloysius. 

So powerful was the effect of this festival, that many young 
men were induced that very day to follow the Saint in the path 
of the evangelical counsels, religious owned to having been so 
touched by this example of virtue as to return to their first 
fervour, and many would not let the day pass without making 
a general confession of their whole lives. a ) The people of Cas 
tiglione would not be behind the inhabitants of Brescia in 
devotion to their holy prince. Nine days after the Congre 
gation of Mantua, they had asked and obtained, through their 
parish priest Pastorio, the leave from the Bishop of Brescia 
to expose the picture of S. Aloysius for public veneration in 
the Church of SS. Nazario and Celso. 

a) Sumraar. Tit. I, 2, p. 27. Bolland. p. 865. 

III. Appendix. 281 

The 28 th of July, the festival of these Saints, was observed 
with unusual solemnity and the joyous bells invited the inhabi 
tants of Castiglione at an early hour to honour their holy prince 
for the first time with their devout homage. The people flocked 
from far and near. He, from whom they had so much grieved 
to part, was now given back to them as a citizen of Heaven, 
and they beheld his picture surrounded with lights, and could 
offer their prayers and wishes to him whom they had so often 
seen kneeling before the Altar with such devotion. 1 

Amidst the universal joy a lady was seen prostrate before 
the picture, who attracted general notice. After a little time, she 
sat down, but with her eyes fixed on the picture of the Saint. 
Tears flowed down her cheeks and her lips moved slowly in 
prayers to the holy youth. This was Donna Martha, his happy 
mother, who with the wife of Prince Francis was the first to 
venerate their Aloysius as a Saint in Heaven. 

The enthusiasm rose to its greatest height when Father 
Sylvester Ugolotti, a Dominican, entered the pulpit. Born at 
Castiglione he had known the Saint personally, and had often 
conversed with him. What S. John spoke regarding the Son 
of God, he could also say of Aloysius. "He (Epist. I, v. i. 2.) 
whom we have seen with our eyes, whom we have observed, 
whom we have touched with our hands, Him we declare and 
confess to you." 

He began his sermon with the following text: "Z&, that 
shall overcome, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God . . . 
and upon him I will write the name of my God" Apoc. Ill, 12. 
AVith fervid eloquence, he described the glorious victory gained 
by Aloysius over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Then 
turning to the mother of the Saint he said: "Happy Mother 
to have given to the world this noble scion, whose brow is now 
adorned in Heaven with a starry crown of inexpressible bright 
ness. What Queen, what Empress, might not envy you? Mothers 
who to-day shed tears of joy at seeing their sons covered 
with glory, crowned with diadems of gold or with laurel wreaths 
and borne in triumphal chariots, will to-morrow weep far other 
tears when they see them slain, covered with a pall, and carried 
to the sepulchre. But you behold his triumph in Heaven, his 
crown wrought of the pure gold of love, and inscribed with the 
name of Jesus. Your tears of joy can flow unchecked by any 




fear that they may some day be changed into tears of sorrow. 
For God will wipe away all tears from the eyes of the elect. 
O thrice happy country of- mine, which small as it is, can now 
compare in glory with noble provinces and even kingdoms like 

France. France had S. Louis for its king you have the 

Blessed Aloysius for your prince. What may you not expect 
from Heaven where you have so powerful an advocate? For 
who can suppose that Louis gazing on the Divine Essence as 
in a mirror can fail to look down upon his country, ever ready 
to cover those who need it with the shield of his protection? 
Open the eyes of your souls my countrymen to discern how 
highly favoured you are. You have for your masters not tyrants 
or low born upstarts, but lords of noble blood, not perverse 
and wayward, but lovers of the truth and of God Saints, not 
worldlings. What more could you desire? And yet there is 
something to be added. Tell me what other people have ever 
possessed two princes of the same race and blood, one here 
on earth who represents you at the Court of the Vicar of 
Christ/ 2 and the other, immortal in Heaven, who presents all 
your needs and wishes at the throne of God Himself?" 

These rejoicings lasted three days and the concourse of 
people on the third day was as numerous as on the first. 
Never before had Castiglione witnessed a solemnity so overflowing 
with joy and spiritual consolation. 3 ) 

A further impetus was given to the devotion to the Saint 
when in May, i6oS, Paul V. gave permission for an aureole to 
be placed round the head of his picture on his tomb. Rome, 
Modena, Cremona, Padua, Brescia, vied with each other in 
celebrating his Feast on June the 2 1 st . In Castiglione the 
vigil was kept as a fast like the vigils of the great Festivals. 
Nearly a thousand of the faithful approached Holy Communion 
and hardened sinners who not even once a year at Paschal time 
made their peace with God were changed into great penitents, 
and confessed their sins with tears. Did not the Saint obtain 
these graces for them from God, on the day of his feast ? b) 

Rome was still more interested in the glorification of Aloy 
sius, Rome which in his lifetime was his only country, and which 
was to be to him after death his place of rest. On the 2 1 st 

a) Bolland. 1. c. pp. 866. 867. b) Bolland. 1. c. p. 869. 

III. Appendix. 283 

of June, the whole church of the Roman College was covered 
with the finest hangings, and adorned with emblems and devices 
of every kind. A Latin inscription outside the Church announced 
the festivity, of which the following is the translation. "To the 
Blessed Aloysius Gonzaga, of the Society of Jesus, Prince of the 
Holy Roman Empire and Marquis of Castiglione, who added to 

Reliquary containing the skull of S. Aloysius, 

in the church dedicated to the Saint in Castiglione. (See P. II, ch. 32. 
Appendix, ch. 4, note 3.) 

the nobility of his race by the glory of his merits, equalled the 
glory of the Saints by the sanctity of his life, and who sur 
passed the sanctity of many, by his incomparable innocence. 
The two classes of Humanities have affixed this, in the name 
of the Imperial Ambassador." 

The Chapel of the Annunciation in which was the tomb 
of the Blessed Aloysius, was resplendent with gold and silver 
and precious hangings. A picture of the Saint stood under a 




rich baldachino, and before the altar there was a very beautiful 
carpet in which were worked the following words: "Here rests 
the body of the B. Aloysius Gonzaga, of the Society of Jesus." 
The holy Name of Jesus was embroidered in letters of gold, 
and under it were the arms of the Gonzagas of Castiglione. 

On the day of the Feast, Masses followed Masses from 
a very early hour in the Chapel of the Tomb, in thanksgiving 
to God for the exaltation of His servant, Aloysius. The faith 
ful crowded to Communion, as well as to show honour to the 
Saint. But not the common people only; Cardinals, Dukes, 
Princes, Ambassadors from almost all the Catholic Powers, were 
present to offer their homage to this young Christian hero. 
The festival lasted for eight days and during this time the 
Church was filled with his devout clients. Yet their piety was 
not satisfied. For a second week, solemn sendees were held 
at the Roman College, at which the Cardinals and Nobility 
assisted. The young students made discourses in Latin and 
Greek, and beautiful verses, in honour of the young "Beato", 
who not so very many years before had frequented the same 
schools as they. a ) 

How deeply, the devotion to S. Aloysius, had already 
taken root in the hearts of the people, may be seen by the 
following incident. 

Prosper Pastorio, Majordomo of Donna Bibiana, had 
received the honourable mission from her husband, Prince 
Francis Gonzaga, Imperial Ambassador to the Holy See, to 
convey a large relic of S. Aloysius to Castiglione. It consisted 
of a bone of the leg, which was destined for the Church of 
SS. Celso and Nazario. Pastorio accordingly set off, but 
knowing his countrymen, he kept strict silence as to the ob 
ject of his journey. The journey passed off without incident, 
when what was his astonishment to find that though still far 
from Castiglione, the roads were all thronged with people. His 
secret had been discovered, and more than 13,000 persons 
had come and placed themselves along the way, to pay reve 
rence to the relic. Everyone wished to apply their rosaries and 
medals to it. This consolation was granted to some; but on . 
account of the great numbers, it was impossible to give it to 

a) Bolland. 1. c. p. 

Appendix. 2 g 5 

all. The people then became excited, and in their affection 
for their much loved prince they forgot the reverence due to 
the Saint, and placed their hands upon the reliquary which 
contained the relic, so that Pastorio was obliged to take it 
away and place it in safety. The people then made a rush to 
get possession of the cloths in which the relic was wrapped. At 
last, when they had reached Guidicciolo, a little country place 
between Mantua and Castiglione, they seized the reliquary itself, 
and in a moment, the case, the veil, the cover and the cords 
by which it hung from Pastorio s neck, were torn into a thousand 
pieces, and were distributed as if they were precious jewels 
among the people. The nearer they drew to the city, the greater 
grew the crowd. It was as if some triumphant conqueror were 
about to enter the city. The procession passed under triumphal 
arches, and it never ceased till it entered the Church. There, 
the precious treasure was received amidst the strains of the 
organ and other musical instruments, and exposed to the vener 
ation of the faithful. The wonderful cure of a sick woman who 
invoked the protection of S. Aloysius crowned this beautiful 
feast. a ) 

This veneration with which the people on every occasion 
honoured Aloysius, and these joyous festivals all occurred be 
fore the Pope bestowed upon him the title of Blessed in the 
Concistory of September 26, in the same year, 1606. It may 
therefore easily be imagined what great joy filled the whole of 
Italy and all Catholic nations, when Paul V. on the 19 th of 
October, 1606, declared him a Saint in heaven. But it would 
take too long to mention in particular all the manifestations of 
honour paid to S. Aloysius. 

When once the cultus of the Blessed Aloysius had taken 
deep root in Italy and especially in the centre of the Catholic 
Faith, it spread from city to city, from nation to nation, and it 
may be said that Aloysius even before he was canonized, en 
joyed at the hands of the whole Catholic world, a veneration 
which not many saints have shared. The statues and pictures 
of him, which were found everywhere in the Churches, and the 
sacred functions which every year took place in his honour, 
bear testimony to this. 

a) Summar. Tit. II, 2, p. 49. 

286 Appendix. Chap. 


The honour shown by Christian princes to S. Aloysius 
after his death. 

ut few years had passed since the death of S. Aloy 
sius and already the whole of Europe, and even 
India, resounded with his name. He was invoked in 
all necessities, spiritual and temporal, with wonderful 

His portrait was exposed for public veneration in all the 
Churches: in those of Castiglione it was brilliant with rays of 
light*), and at Rome, b ) Brescia/) Padua, d ) Mantua, 6 ) Florence f ) 
Sienna, & and Parma. h ) 

This likeness was carried in procession, it was printed, it 
was reproduced in bronze, it was in every body s hands. 1 ) His 
relics were sent to all parts as precious jewels and were honoured 
as sacred. Ranuzio, Duke of Parma, caused the head of the 
Saint to be solemnly translated Castiglione, in 1606, on a carriage 
drawn by six horses. 8 

Chapels had already been built in his honour at Mantua, k > 
Castiglione 1 ) and Rome. m ) His tomb was especially glorious. 
Offerings and gifts from far and near came in numbers, and 
each day a new name was added to the contributors. Rich 
and poor knelt there together; and Bishops, Prelates and Car 
dinals celebrated Holy Mass with loving veneration. 

The feast of this Angel of purity was celebrated in every 
land. The aureole of glory encircled his head, and the title of 
Saint was already added to his name. But the special honour 
given by the Church to her blessed children, the glory of the 
Altars, the privilege of being enrolled among the Saints was still 
wanting to him. 

We owe it chiefly to the mediation of Catholic princes 
that Aloysius received this distinction. They vied with each 

a) Boll. 1. c. p. 866. b) Ibid., p. 868. c) Ibid., p. 869. d) Ibid. 
e) Ibid., p. 868. f) Cod. Coccini, Proc. Castell. Test. XVII, p. 149. g) Ibid. 
h) Ibid. i) Cod. Coccini Proc. Castell. Test. VI, p. 87, verso. k) Summar. 
Tit. II, 2, p. 49. 1) Ibid. m) "Origine del Coll. Rom." an. 1620. 

IV. Appendix. 287 

other in the petitioning the Holy See to add this last and pre 
cious gem to the crown of Aloysius, until their desire was 
accomplished and their petition finally, granted. Their requests 
were all splendid panegyrics of Aloysius, as a Youth, Prince, 
and Confessor. 

The first steps towards the Canonization were taken by 
the Synod of Mantua, and several provinces of the Society of 
Jesus. This has been already recorded. On the 2i st May, 
1 60 5, Cardinal Dietrichstein presented a request in person to 
Paul V. With all the eloquence that distinguished him, he 
entreated the Pope to place among the Saints him whom he 
had so much honoured and admired during his life for his 
wonderful virtues. With the same object, Prince Francis Gon- 
zaga, the Saint s brother addressed on the i y th May, a letter to 
the Holy Father, and another on the 29 th July of the same 
year. These were the first of the petitions from the Princes 
which afterwards poured in to the Holy See, one after the other, 
increasing always in fervour and earnestness. 

The first of these came from Ferdinand, Grand Duke of 
Tuscany, on the io th August i6o5, to whose court Aloysius 
was at one time attached as page. The veneration he and his 
family had for Aloysius, and which he had gained on his very 
first appearance at Court by the bright example of his virtues, 
had been much increased by some miraculous occurences and 
had led the Grand Duke to solicit this favour from the Holy 
See. a ) 

The Duke Ranuzio of Parma in his petition of the 
19 th of August, dwelt particularly on his friendship with Aloysius 
when they were boys together, on the attraction of his amiabi 
lity and modesty, and the affection he had inspired, which had 
increased with years, as his virtues and miracles became all the 
more known. b ) 

Duke Vincent of Mantua was not satisfied with writing. 
He went to Rome and on August the 27* manifested his desire 
to the Pope in person. ) 

The Emperor Rodolph also used his influence to promote 
the holy work. Writing from Prague on October the i5 th , i6o5, 
he brought forward, besides the holy pure and mortified life of 

a) Bolland. ]. c. p. 870. b) Ibid. c) Ibid. 

288 Appendix. Chap. 

Aloysius, that he was a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 
and his relative, and that he had left to all a splendid example. a ) 

The Emperor s sister, the Infanta Margaret of Austria testi 
fied that, when at i 2 years of age, the holy youth had travelled 
with her and her Mother through Italy and Spain, he was held 
by every one to be a Saint b) 

The Duke of Savoy mentions the love he felt for Aloysius, 
when he appeared in his Court in 1684 in secular but simple 
dress and showed forth the virtues of a saintly man. c ) 

Besides these, the Duke of Modena, the King and Queen 
of France, Isabella Clara Eugenia, Regent of Belgium, Albert 
her husband, d ) Philip III., King of Spain sent their requests also 
to the Holy Father that he would enrol Aloysius in the number 
of the Saints. 

But the Holy See would not act precipitately. Paul V. 
made a long examination before he yielded to the just demands 
of the Catholic Princes. He wished to avoid even the ap 
pearance of being influenced by their intercession, in granting 
a favour which sanctity alone can merit. This delay had the 
effect of exciting in the faithful a still stronger desire to see 
Aloysius honoured on our Altars. At last, in 1618, the Holy 
Father acceded to the repeated requests of Francis Gonzaga, 
Bishop of Mantua, and especially of Ferdinand, Duke of Mantua, 
whose words sounded almost as a gentle complaint. He granted 
to all the Religious Brethren of Aloysius leave to say Mass 
and recite the Divine Office in his honour. A thrill of joy per 
vaded the Catholic world, and at Mantua gave rise to unwonted 
demonstrations. Whatever could be imagined to do honour to 
the Saint and whatever could be effected in a short time, as 
the Brief of Beatification was received on the i 5 th June, was 
done by the Duke Ferdinand. 

He first earnestly requested from the Bishop of Mantua, 
an order that the 2i st of June should be kept as a holiday of 
obligation. On June the 1 9 th he ordered notice to be given by 
sound of trumpet that no vehicles were to enter the city, and 
that any one keeping a shop open on that day would be fined 
ten scudi some two pounds. On the eve of the feast, 
which for the ducal family and the whole Court was a fast, the 

a) Holland. I. c. p. 871. b) Ibid. - c) Ibid. d) Ibid. 

IV. Appendix. 289 

bells of the Cathedral and of the tower of the city gave joyful 
warning. In the absence of the Bishop, the Abbot of S. Bar 
bara, with the chapter and all the clergy went in procession to 
the Church of the Society of Jesus and the festivities began with 
solemn Vespers. 

The decoration of the Church had been undertaken by 
the Duke, and the tapestries and hangings of the Ducal palace 
were all employed to add beauty to the feast. The Ducal 

Church of S. Aloysius in Castiglione. 
(See Appendix, note 3.) 

treasury lent the riches it possessed in statues of silver of the 
apostles ; candlesticks and vessels of silver and other articles were 
offered. The chalice alone destined for the Saint s Altar was 
valued at two thousand pounds. On the morning of the feast 
so many Priests regular and secular came to say Mass, that 
there were not Altars enough. At the court appeared forty 
representatives of the twenty parishes, a gentleman and a citizen 
for each parish accompanied by about a hundred of the people 
of Mantua. They had been summoned by the Duke the day 

290 Appendix. Chap. 

The Duke from his throne declared his intention of pla 
cing himself, his whole family and people, if they also wished 
it, under the protection of S. Aloysius. To this proposal there 
was a unanimous response of cordial thanks. A notary came 
forward to put it in writing. The Duke then with the whole 
body went to the Church after giving to each gentleman a ducat 
of gold, and to each citizen a silver piece. 

The procession entered the Church and when the Duke 
took his place on the throne, at the Gospel side of the Altar 
of the Chapel of S. Aloysius, the ceremony began. The Duke 
read the document written by the notary, standing at the foot 
of the throne, and the Abbot in Pontifical vestments sitting on 
the highest step of the Altar. Its purport was that, on this day, 
Aloysius was chosen by the Duke and his people as one of the 
special Patrons of Mantua. When this was ended, a number 
of Priests and ecclesiastics entered from the Sacristy bringing 
the gifts. The first carried in a basin of gold adorned with 
flowers, a vase of gold containing altar breads, the second an 
other golden basin filled with most precious and fragrant incense. 
In the middle of this was a casket with smoking incense pre 
pared by the Duke himself at the cost of more than twenty 
golden ducats. Then came a third basin full of bread, adorned 
with a crown of ears of corn. After these followed other ec 
clesiastics with silver vessels full of the most choice wines 
that were in the palace, of oil and of wax. When the pro 
cession had reached the Altar, the Duke took the first vessel, 
which was filled with altar breads and presented it to the 
officiating Abbot, and the other gifts were likewise offered to 
him by the priests and clerics. 

Then followed a beautiful panegyric delivered by a Friar 
Minor, in which he described the holiness of S. Aloysius in the 
world, in the Society and in death, and his glory in Eternity. 
Directly after the sermon came the Pontifical Mass. At the 
Offertory the Duke offered a golden ducat presented to him 
on a small golden plate by a knight; and the other representa 
tives of the various parishes offered the money which had been 
given them in the palace. Then at the priest s Communion, 
the Duke received Holy Communion from the hands of the 
Abbot. It was long past midday when the Pontifical Mass 

IV. Appendix. 291 

was ended. This glorious day closed with solemn vespers at 
which all the ducal family assisted. 3 ) 

The favour obtained from the Holy See by the fervent 
petition of the Duke of Mantua aroused fresh courage in the 
other Christian princes, and a number of fresh petitions demanded 
the Canonization of Aloysius. It would take too long were 
we merely to mention the names of the princes and nobles who 
pleaded most strenuously for the Canonization of their com 
panion in rank; amongst others, we may name the Emperors 
Ferdinand II., Ferdinand III., Leopold and Charles VI. 

We will merely quote the expressions of one or two of 
the petitions, in order to show the esteem with which these 
princes regarded Aloysius, and also the earnestness with 
which they desired that the greatest honour of the Church 
should be paid to him. 

The petition of the Emperor Ferdinand II. was made at a 
time at which a war was ravaging Italy, on account of the 
Duchy of Mantua. The Emperor in the beginning of his letter 
makes mention of this, and states that in these disturbances he 
placed all his trust in Aloysius, because the Saint was in a cer 
tain way the domestic advocate of his house, and of his family. 
"Therefore", be continues, "may His Holiness not disapprove 
his urgency, if, in the certainty that Aloysius will procure for 
him the much desired peace, he should endeavour to testify 
his gratitude to him r who is already glorified in Heaven, 
renowned for miracles, and celebrated for his glorious merits. 
Some years ago", continues Ferdinand in his memorial, "a 
predecessor of your Holiness, Paul V. of holy memory, caused 
an ecclesiastical process to be drawn up concerning the life and 
virtues of the Saint, and he then caused him to be numbered 
amongst the JBeati of the Church. He decreed that Aloysius, 
as an undoubted friend of God, and as one who had ever been 
superior to all the vicissitudes of the world and clothed in the 
vesture of immortality , should be publicly honoured in the Church. 
Wherefore then does his cause not advance? Can the mind of 
man conceive anything more exalted in blessedness or more 
sublime than the infinite joys of Heaven. AVe are persuaded that 

a) Gorzoni "Storia del Collegio di Mantova d. C. d. G. dall armo 1584 1711." 
MS. of the public library, ^Jantua, 2 vols in one. (Sign. H. IV. 10), Vol. I, 
p. 115123. 

2 92 Appendix. Chap. 

all that mortals can do for the sake of those that are immortal 
does not augment their heavenly glory so much as do the 
veneration and confidence which are justly rendered to them. 
Therefore are we animated with the hope that your Holiness 
will make manifest this our petition throughout the whole earth, 
viz. that Aloysius may be numbered amongst the Saints as a 
new ornament to their illustrious ranks. 

Besides the motives which we have alleged, we are stimu 
lated by other reasons which make us prompt and joyful in 
performing the most honourable duty of petitioning for his 

He was a Marquis of the Empire, and most loyal to 
Caesar, the scion of. a family whose unswerving fidelity to the 
Roman Emperor and whose devotion was constantly con 
spicuous even in the darkness of these times. Therefore our 
august house, which is linked to his by ties of blood and of af 
finity, deserves that this sapling which has been transferred to 
Heaven, should be honoured on earth by imperial decree. 
Most fervently and most constantly do we conjure your 
Holiness to grant this our earnest supplication, and in your 
paternal love to command by your authority that the holiness 
of this hero should be exalted by the mouths of all men, so 
that, as it is duly established by miracles and solemn processes, 
it may be recognized and esteemed throughout the entire 
earth. Then princes and the most illustrious portion of the 
Empire will have an example of virtue, an ideal of perfection, 
and a mirror of piety by which they may with advantage regulate 
their own habits and actions. Italy, and chiefly the family of 
Gonzaga will have a titular patron, we shall have a p owerful 
advocate with God. From Aloysius your Holiness will obtain 
that your and our counsels, embassies, endeavours, toils and 
cares may be crowned with the laurels of peace. 

Given in Vienna January 19 th 1630."^ 

We will conclude with the petition of the Duke Maximi 
lian Emanuel, Prince Elector of Bavaria: 

"Most Holy Father in Christ and most clement Lord, 

Most humbly kissing your Holiness feet, I have long been 
confidently expecting that your Holiness supreme authority would 

a) Holland. 1. c. p. 886. 

IV. Appendix. 293 

have placed Aloysius Gonzaga of the Society of Jesus, in the 
ranks of the Saints, since he has already been pronounced 
Blessed, and honoured as such in the Church. I cannot there 
fore longer restrain my desires and those of my subjects; but I 
commend the matter with all the power I can to your Holiness, 
so that you may bring it to a happy conclusion. 

I do this \vith great good will and affection, because I 
believe it to be to hereditary in my house, with all diligence 
to promote public piety, the splendour of the Church, the 
veneration of the Saints, and the Divine Glory. I well re 
member how in the past my grandfather Maximilian of happy 
memory, interceded with the Holy Roman See, to obtain the 
apotheosis of the holy Father, Ignatius, Founder of the Society 
of Jesus; and I also remember the happy result which followed. 
Therefore I consider myself happy to be allowed to occupy my 
self in the same way, to obtain the like honour for a son of 
that holy Father, confident of being consoled in the same 
manner by your Holiness with the success of my intercession. 
This will be granted to me on account of my prayers, and 
of my grateful devotion. For to this I attribute having been 
freed from ophthalmia, for which in vain I sought a cure, and 
of which now I have hardly a vestige remaining. I cannot 
make a more suitable acknowledgment of the goodness of this 
Saint, my heavenly patron, than by endeavouring to propagate, 
his honour and veneration in the Church. For this I intend to 
employ all my energy, not to satisfy my private devotion only, 
but also the pious desires of the innumerable clients of the 
"Beato" who have received similar favours. 

Together with me, they desire, and most ardently implore 
that their Blessed Benefactor may be raised to that dignity, in 
which their piety can make him some return by a fuller veneration. 
It will promote their devotion and add splendour not only 
to the house of the Gonzagas, to whom in this matter, which 
is so holy, I willingly associate myself with all my power, but 
it will bring glory and grace to all the families of the entire 
Christian world, since the noblest offshoot of their race is 
transplanted in heaven, and they will find in him a patron an 
example of highest sanctity and an incitement to imitation. 

In fine I greatly desire by this, to confer a favour on the 
whole Society of Jesus, so well deserving in this land, and to 

Saint Aloysius. 2 I 

294 Appendix. Chap. 

procure for her consolation and compensation for her labours. 
How very much all our Electoral house and our provinces are 
indebted to the Society, our ancestors attest. For they have 
been so protected by their indefatigable zeal, in the schools, 
in the pulpit, in missions, by their learning, virtues and various 
labours, and have been taught by them so well to avoid ever en 
croaching heresy, that Bavaria almost alone among the provinces 
of Germany has remained untouched. And with like diligence 
and zeal for the Divine Glory, have they persevered even until 
now, with unwearying ardour, both at court and throughout the 
whole country, in such a way, as to have excited the esteem 
and satisfaction of myself and of my subjects, and to be ever 
more and more sought after. Therefore I have thought it to be 
my duty, in so holy a cause, to further their deserts. 

For this reason I repeat my petition , through the ardent 
devotion I bear to the B. Aloysius, and with that respect which 
is due to the Holy See, and kissing anew your Holiness feet 
and recommending myself and mine to your Holiness, 

Your Son and Client, 

Maximilian Emanuel 

Elector. a ) 
Munich, Febr. 1 4 th , 1716. 

The glory given to S. Aloysius by the Vicar of Christ. 

have seen in the preceding chapters, how princes 
and peoples and the whole of Christendom united 
in exalting and glorifying him, who during his whole 
life had avoided honour, and sought humility. It 
would have been strange if the Father of Christendom, the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ upon earth had held aloof from such a 
general movement. Nor did he do this. Rather, he it was 
who, from the first, made clear to all, the everlasting glory of 

a) Summar. Tit. VIII. 9, p. 294. There is a copy in the Archivio di Stato 
>f Modena, division Novellara, XXVII, n. 172. 

V. Appendix. 295 

the Saint, and he continued to do still more and more, until 
S. Aloysius, before the eyes of the whole world, was raised to 
the ranks of the Saints. 

Cardinal Scipio Gonzaga, was drawn by the fragrance of 
sanctity which his young relative, S. Aloysius, spread around 
him. He had frequent opportunities of speaking to Pope 
Clement VIII. and he constantly succeeded in turning the dis 
course upon the virtues of S. Aloysius, and telling the Holy 
Father what great things God had worked in that soul. Through 
these repeated conversations, Clement VIII. had gradually come 

Piazza, di San Luigi in Castiglione. 

to venerate and admire the saintly youth. In an audience, on 
August 5 th , 1604, which he gave to Prince Francis Gonzaga, 
the brother of the Saint, he made it clear that he too believed 
that Aloysius was in the glory of the Blessed. He told the 
Prince he was fortunate to have such an intercessor in Heaven. 
And that such a splendid example of virtue might not remain 
hidden he urged the Prince to have the life of his brother 
published. In spite however of the wishes of the Prince, the 
publication of the book was still delayed. The Holy Father 
could not prevent himself from showing his displeasure at this, so 
near to his heart was the glorification of S. Aloysius. a > Thus 

a) Cod. Coccini, Process. Cast. Test. XI, pp. 109, no. 

296 Appendix. Chap, 

much to show the action of the Holy See and how it initiated 
the public honour paid to the Saint. 

At last, in 1606, the life of the Saint by Cepari, appeared 
at Rome; and in the course of a few years it went through 
six consecutive editions. That same year, 1606, it was published 
in French at Douay. In 1608 it appeared at Cologne in Latin, 
in 1609 at Cracow in Polish, and at Lyons in French. In 
i6i5 at Antwerp in Flemish, and in 1637 & appeared in 
English, with a dedication to Mary Countess of Buckingham. a ) 
This translation was the work of F. Richard Strange S. J. Swift as 
a whirlwind the fame of the sanctity of the young Confessor spread 
through every land. Devotion and veneration towards him, kept 
equal pace with the fame of his sanctity. Possibly Clement VIII. 
promised himself this happy result from the publication of the 
life. The Pope manifested his veneration for S. Aloysius, in 
other ways also. 

The body of the Saint still rested under the steps of the 
altar of S. Sebastian in the Church of the Annunciation. As 
devotion to him continued to increase, Prince Francis wished 
that a more honourable place should be given to it, to the left 
of the Lady Chapel, and that it should repose above ground. 
Pope Clement granted this most willingly, and so the body of 
the Saint was translated with the greatest solemnity to the 
Chapel of our Lady onMay 13 th , i6o5. b ) (See Part II, c. xxxn, 
p. 245.) 

But before this took place, Clement VIII. had departed 
this life. He was succeeded in the See of S. Peter by Paul V. 
Hardly had he been elected Pope, and whilst he was still in 
the Conclave, Prince Francis Gonzaga prayed him with great 
urgency to deign to promote the canonization of Aloysius. 
Paul V. was at the time of S. Aloysius death Judge or Auditor 
Causarum of the apostolic Camera, and thus he knew much 
about the Life of the Blessed youth. In spite of this he asked the 
prince to give him an accpunt of the virtues of the Saint, and 
some days afterwards the Pope showed how willingly he yielded 
to the pressing solicitations of Francis. ) When the Conclave 
was over, Cardinal Dietrichstein , on taking leave of the newly 

a) De Backer, Biblioth. des Ecrivains ; Liege, 1869, T. I, p. 1161, 1162. T. Ill, 
p. 960. b) Orig. del Coll. Rom. an. 1605. Cod. Coccini, Process. Cast. Test. XI, 
p. 106. c) Relatio, Pars V, 2, p. 109. 

V. Appendix. 297 

elected Pope, to return to Germany, renewed the request of 
Prince Francis, and begged that in the mean time the portrait 
of Aloysius might be exposed over his tomb for veneration in 
accordance with the ardent desire of the faithful. Paul V. 
granted the required permission at once, and without the last 
difficulty, and thus public veneration of S. Aloysius first obtained 
the approbation of the Holy See. The Cardinal left the Vatican 
and went in haste to the church of the Annimziata, where he 
said the Canonical hours on his knees. Prince Francis informed 
of what had occurred joined the Cardinal at the church; both 
went together to the Sacristy and informed those present that 
permission had been granted to hang up the picture of B. Aloy 
sius which was in the College, over his tomb. The superiors 
hesitated, as is usually the case in all unforeseen circumstances. 
Prince Francis ordered a ladder to be brought at once to the 
place. With the help of his servants, he took the picture from 
the wall and brought it to the Sacristy. In the mean time the 
Cardinal had put on a cope; and both he and the Prince then 
carried the picture to the Chapel of our Lady, where one of 
his attendants, a priest, named Paul de Angelis, hung it up 
over the Saint s tomb. 4 All the votive offerings that had till 
that time been hidden away in the Sacristy were then, by the 
Cardinal s orders, brought out, and exposed around the tomb. a ) 
After this the Cardinal said a mass of thanksgiving of the 
Holy Ghost, at the altar in this same Chapel. He bowed pro 
foundly both at the beginning and end of Mass before the picture 
and tomb of the Saint, to the great edification of those present. 
To complete this solemn act, Clement Ghisoni hung up a 
silver lamp before the pictured The Holy Father gave his 
approval to all this, c ) when, on the following day, Prince Francis 
related to him how the ceremony had taken place. And further 
more, because of the great veneration which Paul V. had for 
S. Aloysius he gave permission immediately after for his picture 
to be engraved. The Saint appears in the engraving with a lily 
in his hand, and the aureole of a Saint around his head, and 
in order to procure greater veneration towards this print, the 
Pope attached to it several indulgences. d > Paul V. besides 
ordered the image also to be stamped on the Agnus Dei, which 

a) Summ. Tit. II, . i, pp. 33, 34. Cod. Coccini, Process. Cast. Test. XI, 
p. 106. b) Summ. 1. c. p. 34. c) Ibid. p. 35. d) Resp. P. IV, i, p. 82. 

298 Appendix. Chap. 

is usually only done with regard to servants of God who are 
already canonized. a ) 

By this important step, the Pope approved the public 
cultus of S. Aloysius, and we see the consequences of this event, 
in what has just been described both in Italy and in the 
whole of Europe. 

Prince Francis obtained a still further concession in re 
ference to the cultus of the Saint, in the year i6o5, on the 
occasion of his asking the Pope to allow S. Aloysius at least to 
be honoured under the title of Blessed, and to allow this title 
to be printed in his life. Before granting this request, the 
Holy Father established the celebrated commission of three 
Cardinals who were to examine the Saint s life and compare it 
with 1 8 previous processes, and then declare whether Aloysius 
could strictly be numbered among the Blessed. 

In the solemn Consistory of the 2 1 st of September, these 
Cardinals made their statement that Aloysius was not only 
worthy of the title of Blessed, but furthermore deserved that 
of Saint. Upon this, Paul V., conferred upon him in this Con 
sistory the title of Blessed. b ) This the Pontiff did vivac vocis 
oraculo. At the same time he commanded that a Brief should 
be sent to Prince Francis, according the right to print, in the 
title of the Life by Cepari, Blessed Aloysius. ) This Brief ap 
peared on the October 19*, i6o5. 5 It remains to observe that 
in this year, at the request of Cardinal Bellarmine, the room, 
where Aloysius died, was changed into a chapel. d ) 

Thus Aloysius was formally beatified. Certainly in those 
times the beatification of a servant of God was not solemnized 
in the same way as it is in the present day; but no solemnity 
could have been more fruitful than was this simple declaration 
by the Pope. Thus the veneration of the Saint spread far and 
wide, when in the following year, 1606, his Life appeared in print. 
It is not worth while to tell at length how Paul V. introduced 
in 1607 the processes which precede a Canonization, that is 
the Process of the virtue and sanctity of S. Aloysius, first in 
general, and then in particular. 6 ) But there are two facts, 
which must not be omitted and which throw a new light on the 
zeal of Paul V. for the glorification of S. Aloysius. 

a) Resp. P. IV, . 1, p. 82. b) Summ. Tit. Ill, . 4, p. 79- c) Eod. 
d) Orig. de Coll. Rom. an. 1605. e) Summ. Tit. IV., p. 85. 


Appendix. 299 

First: Cynthia, one of the daughters of Prince Rodolph 
Gonzaga, and a niece of Aloysius , stimulated by the example 
and sublime virtue of her uncle, decided to leave the world. 


Olympia. Gridonia. 

Daughters of the Marquis Rodolph, S. Aloysius brother. 

From oil paintings in the College of the "Virgins of Jesus" at Castiglione. 
(See P. I, note 4. Appendix, ch. 5.) 

But she did not wish to carry out her design alone, but rather 
to gather round her other girls of her own rank, and thus 
found a Community of high-born maidens, who without strictly 
being nuns, would live in retirement and strive to attain spi 
ritual perfection. On her return from Rome where she had 

300 Appendix. Chap. 

lived for many years with her uncle Prince Francis, Cynthia 
persuaded her two sisters, Olympia and Gridonia, to join her, 
and this congregation was afterwards called the College of 
the Virgins of Jesus. It was established on June 21, 1608. 

The three sisters left their father s Castle with ten other 
ladies of their own position, and placed themselves under the 
spiritual direction of Father Cepari. He sketched out the con 
stitutions and the rules with his own hand, and this document 
which he left behind him still exists in the Convent. 

Thus was this great establishment founded in which so 
many from the noblest families of Mantua, Brescia and Veron.a 
have dwelt in holiness during such a number of years. 

The storms of three centuries which have swept away 
all the Congregations of northern Italy, have passed without 
touching this house. For three hundred years this Convent has 
flourished and has kept faithful watch over the Sanctuary of its 
Patron and Protector. So when Cynthia laid her plans before the 
Holy Father, he not only gave his approbation to the Institute but 
even publicly chose Blessed Aloysius to be its Patron. By the 
choice of so powerful a Protector, he assured a prosperous 
existence to the Institute and added new lustre to the glory of 
Aloysius as only Saints are chosen to be Patrons. a ) 

Let us hope that this Convent which is bound by so many 
ties to our Saint, will in this third Centenary, increase in 
numbers and bring forth greater fruit. And also that the 
day is approaching when the holy Foundress will be venerated 
by the Church. God Himself has already glorified her by 
preserving her body incorrupt. 

Meanwhile the process concerning the virtues and sanctity 
of the Blessed Servant of God was brought to a conclusion. 

The Congregation of Rites, on the 19 th of January, 1608, 
declared that the fame of his spotless life, pure faith and great 
miracles, as well as the veneration paid to S. Aloysius, were in- 
contestible facts. And very soon, in the year 1612, the par 
ticular process was begun by the special order of the Holy 

At the final session of the Congregation of Rites, on the 
i o th of November, Cardinal Capponi, the chief promoter of the 

a) Sumra. Tit. II, . 2, p. 59. 

V. Appendix. 301 

Cause preached a magnificent Sermon upon S. Aloysius. He thus 
concluded his panegyric: "For my part", he said, "I believe 
that, in view of the state of the world at the present time it 
would greatly redound to the glory of God, if the highest ho 
nour which the Church can bestow were conferred on this 
youthful Prince, sprung from an illustrious family, who sought 
poverty for the love of God. I perceive no valid reason why 
this should be refused." a ) 

Cardinal Bellarmine than rose and spoke so touchingly of 
his young friend and spiritual son that none of the Cardinals 
could restrain their tears. In conclusion he declared: "There 
are two paths which lead to Canonization; the path of peni 
tence and the path of innocence. Aloysius trod them both; 
and so, like another S. John the Baptist, he is worthy of Cano 
nization; whilst at the same time he merits it solely on account 
of his innocence, and this latter path is the one most esteemed 
by the Holy See". b ) All the Cardinals signified their approval, 
and the Congregation finally decided that the Canonization 
might be safely gone on with, as the previous precedings had been 
found in order, and the virtues and miracles of the Beato had 
been fully proved. It was also decided to petition the Holy 
Father to sanction the use of a Mass and Office in honour of 
the Beato. So great was the joy of the Congregation that Father 
Cepari, the postulator, was at once summoned and when he 
appeared Cardinal Ferdinand Gonzaga in a transport of joy 
threw his arms round the Father s neck. 

The virtues of B. Aloysius were made still more manifest 
when the Acts of the Process were examined into by the Rota 
at the command of Paul V. This examination lasted five years, 
and the reports of the Rota were laid before the Pope on Ja 
nuary 25 th , 1618. Probably in all the records of the Church no 
more brilliant panegyric can be found than that which is con 
tained in this report. In the title itself S. Aloysius is styled the 
"Angelic youth". This name frequently occurs throughout the 
document, and eventually, as will be seen, received the highest 
sanction. The right of S. Aloysius to the title is stated in the 
following words: "Though in the Church of God there are 
many who preserved their virginity until death, it is not easy 

a) Sumtti. Tit. V, . 5, pp. 05-97. b) Ibid. 6, pp. 99101. 




to find those who were wholly exempt from every motion of the 
flesh or impure temptations of the malignant enemy. At all events, 
so far as we are aware, this has not been recorded in the life of 
any Saint." The Report concludes thus. "In presence of his 
eminent sanctity, extraordinary reputation and signal miracles, 
we have come to the conclusion that, whenever your Holiness 
pleases, you may accede to the supplications presented by the 
Princes of Christendom and enrol Aloysius, the noble scion 
of the House of Gonzaga, and of the religious of the Society of 
Jesus, among the Saints, to the glory of God and to the exal 
tation of our Holy Mother the Church." a ) 

Thus the two authoritative bodies in the Church pronounced 
in the strongest manner in favour of S. Aloysius. Their decisions 
of course produced their effect, and Paul V. on the 2 6 th of 
March, 1618, granted the privilege of the Mass and Office of 
the Beato for all the States belonging to the Gonzaga family, 
the Duchy of Mantua, the Principalities of Castiglione, Bozzolo, 
Guastalla and Molfetta, as also for the possessions of the Counts 
of Novellara and Sabbioneta, and for the whole district of Mon- 
ferrato. A few days later on March 30 th , at the request of 
Cardinal Bellarmine, the Pope gave the same permission to all 
the Houses of the Society in Rome, the Professed House, the 
Roman College, the Noviciate of S. Andrea and the College of 
the Fathers appointed to hear confessions in S. Peter s. b ) But 
beyond this Paul V. would not go; and he gave good reasons 
for his decision. 

It seems that one day the Envoy of the Duke of Mantua, 
Monsignor Aurelius Recordati was urging His Holiness to pro 
ceed with the Canonization, since after so searching an investi 
gation there could be no ground for delay. In order to add 
weight to his words, he brought with him a list of Saints, who 
had been canonized in a shorter period after their death. To 
all his arguments the Pope gave but one a reply. He said with 
a smile: "To declare those to be saints, who were human like 
ourselves is the most important act that the Pope has to per 
form. Do not wonder then, if I act prudently and cautiously. 
Before taking such a step I must completely satisfy my con 
science." ) 

a) Summ. Tit. VII, 
a. II, 6, p. 30. 

i, pp. 120179. b) Ibid. 2, p. 180. c) Resp. P. III. 

V. Appendix. 303 

This delay, though highly honourable to the Holy See, 
seemed for a time to veil the lustre of the Beato s fame. But 
it was not so in reality. For had Paul V. at once proceeded 
to the Canonization one Pope only would have done honour to 
Aloysius by virtue of his Apostolic authority. Owing to this 
delay however, each succeeding Pope was privileged to add a 
stone to the temple, while awaiting the time appointed by His 
Divine Majesty for the bestowal of the highest honour than can 
be conferred by the Church. Pope after Pope with scarcely an 
exception, contributed his share to the edifice, each following 
the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. 

Gregory XV., who succeeded Paul V., would have enrolled 
S. Aloysius at once among the Saints a ) but at the request of 
the General of the Society, Mutius Vitelleschi, His Holiness 
had decided that the son should give way to the father, and 
therefore had promised first to canonize S. Ignatius and after 
him S. Francis Xavier. He had however already done homage 
to S. Aloysius by giving permission in a Brief, dated the 2 nd of 
October, 1621, for the Mass and Office of the Beato to be 
used, on the 2 i st of June by all priests of the Society, and by 
all other priests who said Mass in Jesuit Churches. 

Urban VIII. extended this same privilege to other Churches, 
by Briefs, dated May 25, 1624, and November 26, 1629.^ 

Innocent X. abstained from further action in the matter; 
but when Auditor of the Rota in 1 6 1 8, he had taken a prominent 
part in drawing up the reports and placed on record his opi 
nion that Aloysius was worthy of canonization. ) 

Alexander VII. gave a fresh impulse to devotion to 
S. Aloysius by a Brief dated May 22, 1662 wherein he gave 
permission for his votive mass to be celebrated during the year 
in the Church of SS. Nazario and Celso, and this permission was 
extended, by a Brief dated September 26, 1662, to all Churches 
belonging to the Society. d ) 

Clement IX. was so anxious for the Canonization of Aloy 
sius, that his Confessor, Father Aloysius Spinola, in a letter to 
Germany dated October 2o th , 1668, was in a position to speak 
of it as imminent. ) The sudden death of the Pope however, 
prevented its accomplishment. 

a) Inform, p. 13. b) loc. cit. p. 14. c) loc. cit. p. 15. d) loc. cit. p. 15. 
- e) Sumra. Tit. VIII, 6, p. 285. 

304 Appendix. Chap. 

Clement X. owed S. Aloysius a debt of gratitude, for on 
two occasions he had by his intercession saved the life of the 
Pope s brother, John Baptist Altieri, afterwards a Cardinal, when 
dangerously ill. For this reason he desired to evince his gra 
titude by canonizing S. Aloysius; but at the earnest request of 
Father John Paul Oliva, who was at that time General of the 
Society of Jesus, he first canonized S. Francis Borgia. However, 
in proof of his devotion to Aloysius he signed the Decree for 
the Canonization of B. Francis Borgia on June 2i st , the anni 
versary of the death of S. Aloysius, and not content with this, 
on January 30, 1672, His Holiness ordered his name to be 
inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, with the beautiful eulogy 
bestowed on him by the Rota. " Romae beati Aloysii Gonzagae 
S. J. principatus contemptu et innocentia vitae clarissimi 
famous for the innocence of his life and the contempt of his 
principality." This was such a special distinction that among 
Theologians of the time the question was raised as to whether 
it would not in itself entitle a Servant of God to be declared a 
Saint without any further proceedings. a ) 

Innocent XL also desired to promote the Canonization by 
extending for a longer period the permission already given for 
the Mass and Office of the "Beato". This was granted by a 
Decree of the Congregation of Rites, dated Sept. 26 th , i678. b ) 

Clement X. likewise interested himself in the Canonization, 
and caused the proceedings in regard to it, to be again taken 
in hand by the Congregation of Rites. Thanks to the zeal and 
energy displayed by Cardinal Fabroni, the "Reporter" (Ponente), 
and by Father Andrew Budrioli, the "Advocate", the happiest 
results were expected. When the Promoter of the Faith re 
ported progress to the Pope, His Holiness was deeply moved 
and exclaimed: "There is no one I would more willingly cano 
nize than this holy youth. Whilst ranked among the Beatified he 
has in fact gained such a reputation for holiness that he has be 
come more renowned in the Church throughout the world than 
many Saints after their Canonization. The Canonization of one 
so holy will be a joyful event for the whole Church and an ho 
nour to the Holy See. There cannot be the slightest doubt, 
for all the Courts concur. Consequently the Holy See has not to 

a) Inform, pp. 15, 16. b) Summ. Tit. VIII, i, p. 270. 

V. Appendix. 305 

canonize him, but rather to declare that he has already been 
canonized by the Church" Clement however did not live to see 
the fulfilment of his wish. a ) 

Under Innocent XIII. the proceedings were vigorously pushed 
forward. At length the time came when the work, which had almost 

Pope Benedict XIII. 

\vho canonized S. Aloysius and named him the Patron of youth. 
(See Appendix, ch. 5.) 

been promoted by every Pope during a hundred and twenty 
years, each emulating the other in zeal, was at length accom 
plished. 13 ) It was Benedict XIII. who was chosen by God to crown 
the work. From his childhood he had entertained a marked 
devotion to S. Aloysius. Following his example he resigned 

a) Inform, pp. 16, 17. b) Ibid. pp. 17, 18. 

3 6 



his title of Prince Orsini and became a humble son of S. Do 
minic. He always kept a picture of S. Aloysius in his cell, and 
read his life over and over again. When he became Cardinal 
Archbishop of Benevento, he celebrated with the members of 
his Chapter the Feast of B. Aloysius in the Jesuit Church in 
that city. In 1709 he consecrated an altar in honour of 
B. Aloysius in the Carmelite Church, and nine years later also 
consecrated one in the Jesuit Church. In order to spread the 
devotion to the "Beato", he obtained from Rome in 1716 for 
the clergy of his Cathedral the privilege of using his Mass and 
Office. This privilege was extended to the whole Archdiocese 
in 1781. As soon as Benedict learned that the process of the 
Canonization of his heavenly patron was being energetically 
pushed on in Rome, he ordered public prayers to be said for 
the happy issue of the affair. Moreover he promoted this 
work so pleasing to God and so dear to his heart both by 
word and by writing. That which he had earnestly desired he 
actually accomplished when raised to the Pontifical Chair 
in 1724.*) 

On April 2o th , 1726, on the anniversary of the baptism 
of S. Aloysius, after prolonged fasting and prayer, he deter 
mined to canonize him and ordered the Decree to be drawn 
up. The solemn Canonization took place on the 3 i st December 
of that year in Saint Peter s, jointly with that of S. Stanislaus 

"On this day", thus speaks the Pope himself in the Bull 
of Canonization, which is dedicated to our predecessor, S. Syl 
vester, Pope and Confessor, with indescribable joy and pomp, 
we are come to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles to 
enrol among the Saints the angelic youth Aloysius, the cleric 
who so triumphantly passed through the ordeal of religious life." 

Great indeed was the rejoicing throughout Christendom, 
and festivals and processions in thanksgiving took place every 
where. Let us glance for a moment at the Festival which was 
held in Vienna on the first Sunday of August in the following 
year. The procession started from S. Stephen s Cathedral, 
passing through the city to the Jesuit Church. At the head 
of it walked children selected from the various schools. After 

a) Bened. XIV. Op. omnia. Venet. 1767. Tom. I, App. X, p. 251. b) Bull. 
Roman. Ed. Roman. 1736. p. 171. 

V. Appendix. 307 

them was borne a picture representing incidents in the lives 
of vSS. Aloysius and Stanislaus, and then, preceded by a 
choir, came members of the Sodalities of the B. Virgin, and 
other youths, including many sons of the nobility, all walking 
two and two and carrying lighted torches. They numbered 4000. 
Another splendid picture now attracted the attention of all. It 
represented Aloysius at the age of fifteen, kneeling with his 
attendants before the miraculous statue of our Lady, from 
whom he received his call to the Society. It was escorted by 
members of the Sodality. Next came the banner of the So 
dality with a Guard of Honour, consisting of eight associates 
in gala costume carrying gilt wands, besides hundreds of others 
with torches. These were followed by two other sodalities, one 
composed of citizens of Vienna, the other of resident Italians. 

Behind these in a long line came the various ecclesiastical 
bodies, which always took part in the grand processions. To 
them succeeded 200 members of the Society of Jesus, headed 
by a large banner, on one side of which was represented 
S. Ignatius, on the other S. Stanislaus and S. Aloysius, with this 
inscription: "Sancti Patris Ignatii gloria in duobus suis jiliis 
gemma." "The double glory of the Holy Father Ignatius in 
his two sons." Following this were the novices of the Society, 
ten of them carrying a life size statue of S. Stanislaus with the 
Divine Infant in his arms; then lay Brothers and scholastics, 
eight of the latter carrying a magnificent statue of S. Aloysius 
holding in one hand a lily and in the other a crucifix; then 
priests of the Society in gorgeous vestments. 

The procession was closed by pages of the Imperial Court, 
Town Councillors, officers of the army, the clergy of the va 
rious churches, the Cathedral Chapter, the Archbishop, Mon- 
signor Colonitz, the Papal Nuncio, and the foreign Ambassa 
dors, the empress Elizabeth Christina and the archduchess 
Magdalen, all surrounded by their court. The festival lasted 
full eight days. a ) 

Let us resume the thread of our narrative. It has been 
said how near to the heart of Benedict XIII. lay the desire to 
see Aloysius duly honoured. Lie was not content with what 
he had already done. He had on June zi st , 1726, given 

a) Litt. ann. Prov. Austr. S. J. an. 1727. ch. IX. 

38 Appendix. Chap. 

S. Aloysius as patron to all students in the schools of the So 
ciety of Jesus. a ) In the year before his death, 1729, he placed 
all colleges, Grammar schools and High schools under his 
patronage. 7 His successor Clement XII. furthered the devotion 
by enriching with plenary indulgences b ) the pious practice of the 
"Six Sundays of S. Aloysius" started some time previously. 8 

Benedict XIV. c \ Clement XIII. d ), Pius VII. e ) and Gre 
gory XVI. f ) also contributed to the same end. 

The devotion of Pius IX., to S. Aloysius is still in the 
recollection of all. He appointed his feast-day for the cere 
mony of his coronation , and every year on June 2 1 st sent 
precious gifts to the tomb of the Saint where he was often seen 
kneeling in prayer. In an audience granted to the German 
college in the November of 1873, the venerable pontiff recom 
mended to the students devotion towards our Saint in these words : 
"I still remember," he said, "with what deep emotion I read 
in my youth the life of the angelic young man and how many 
tears I shed over it. Read, my sons, the life of this Saint, not 
only to rejoice in the sweet odour of his virtues, but to emulate 
them, and to grow like him in the perfect love of God." 

In a decree of June 4 th 1861 the Holy Father enriched 
the devotion of the Chapels called "le Cappellette" of Saint 
Aloysius with great indulgences; and, on the 25 th of July 1861, 
he issued a decree granting to all priests, permission to say the 
votive Mass of the Saint in the Church of S. Ignatius, on all 
days, except Feasts of the first and second class, when white 
vestments could be used in the Church. 

The splendid Brief of our glorious reigning Pontiff Leo XIII. 
shows beyond a doubt that His Holiness is behind none of his 
illustrious predecessors in devotion to S. Aloysius and zeal for his 
honour. We shall close this chapter with the text of the Brief: 

Pope Leo XIIL, 

To all Christian people who read this letter, health and 
Apostolic Benediction. 

Timely and auspiciously does it happen that on the 2 i st 
of June of this year, solemn festivities are to be held in honour 

a) Orig. del Coll. Rom. an. 1725. b) In an audience of December n, 1739. 
c) Decree of April 22, 1742. d) Boero, Vita di S. Luigi, Roma 1862. p. 258. 
e) Ibid. f) Decree of July 25, 1842. 

V. Appendix. 309 

of S. Aloysius Gonzaga to commemorate the third centenary of 
his most blessed death. We have been informed that this happy 
recurrence has inflamed with a remarkable love and desire of 
holiness the minds of Christian youth, and that they have seen 
in this occasion an admirable opportunity to testify by a mani 
fold demonstration their love and reverence to the patron of 
youth. No-r does this appear to be confined to the country 
which gave birth to S. Aloysius, but his name and fame have 
gone abroad widely and in every land. We, who from our 
earliest years have been wont to pay the deepest devotion to 
the Angelic youth, were filled with delight at the news. 

With God s aid we trust these solemnities will not be 
without fruit to Christians, especially to the young, who while 
they pay honour to their patron and protector, will readily re 
call to mind the marvellous virtues of which as long as he 
lived he was so striking a model. And as they reflect upon 
and wonder at his holiness, we may hope that with the help of 
God they will try to fashion their thoughts and minds after his, 
and strive to be the better by his imitation. It would be im 
possible to put before catholic youth a more striking example 
or one richer in those virtues which ought to be the chief glory 
of the young. For from the life and practice of S. Aloysius 
many are the lessons they can learn, how by care and watch 
fulness to keep their innocence unsullied, with what constancy 
they are to chastise their bodies and put out the fire of unlawful 
desires, how to despise riches and contemn honours, in what 
spirit and intention to devote themselves to their studies, and 
to all the other duties of their time of life. Thence too will 
they derive that teaching, so specially needed in these our 
days, with what faith and love they ought to cling to Mother 
Church and to the See of S. Peter. For this angelic young 
man, whether living at home, or as a page in the Court of 
Madrid, or when, after his renunciation of his princedom, he 
was applying himself to the cultivation of his mind in holiness 
and learning within the Society of Jesus, where he had ob 
tained what he desired, and rejoiced to see all approach to 
honours cut off, and his life entirely dedicated to the salvation 
of his neighbour, in all these walks of life he bore himself 
so that he not only far excelled everyone, but left behind him 
a most splendid example of holiness. 

Saint Aloysius. 

310 Appendix. Chap. 

It was then a wise idea for those who preside over the in 
struction and education of youth, to put S. Aloysius forward as 
a most noble pattern for imitation. In this they do but follow 
the counsel of our predecessor Benedict XIII., who chose S. 
Aloysius as the chief heavenly patron of the young who are 
engaged in their studies. For this reason the societies of Ca 
tholic youth, which have been founded in Italy and elsewhere to 
keep with special honour this festival of S. Aloysius are deserving 
of high praise. We are well aware what zeal and care they have 
brought to the work of preparing for this celebration in which 
the whole catholic world is joining in honour of the Angelic 
youth, and what trouble they are taking that the pious pilgrimages 
to the birth place of the Saint and to this City, where, his chaste 
remains are preserved and honoured, should, be remarkable for 
the piety .and the number of Catholics who take part in them. 

We learn also that a method has been offered to boys and 
girls of testifying the first fruits of pure love and devotion to 
Aloysius. Forms are being widely distributed, already made 
illustrious by some august names, in which they and their 
parents can inscribe themselves as his servants and clients. We 
trust and wish that this rare zeal, these holy resolutions and desires 
may through God s favour have an excellent and happy issue. 
Meanwhile since we have lately been implored to enrich and 
adorn this festivity with the heavenly treasures of the Church so 
that it may produce still more plenteous fruit for souls, we have 
deemed it right graciously to accede to these petitions. 

Wherefore by the mercy of Almighty God, and with the 
authority of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, we grant in 
the Lord, a plenary indulgence and remission of all their sins to 
all the faithful of both sexes who shall have attended each 
day the Triduos or have been at least five times to the devotions 
of the Novenas to be held before the Solemnities that shall be 
ordered by the respective ordinaries. And on these con 
ditions, that upon the day of the feast or on any of the days 
of the Triduo or Novena which they may choose, after a truly 
contrite confession and holy Communion, they devoutly visit 
any Church or public oratory, where the feast of S. Aloysius 
shall be celebrated, and there pour forth pious prayers for the 
peace of Christian princes, the uprooting of heresy, the conversion 
of sinners and the exaltation of our Holy Mother the Church. 

VI. Appendix. ^ Ir 

To these we grant a plenary indulgence, and a remission 
of all their sins. To any who are contrite at least in heart and 
make the pilgrimages to these spots mentioned above, and also 
to children who as best they can and to their parents who sign 
their names in honour of S. Aloysius, provided they have been 
to the triduos or novenas as above said, we grant an indulgence 
of seven years and of seven forty days in the usual form of the 
Church. And all these indulgences may, by way of suffrage 
be applied to all who have died in a state of grace. They are 
to be of avail for this year only. 

We wish also that to the copies and impressions of this 
letter, signed by a Notary public and sealed by any ecclesiastical 
dignitary, the same credence be given as would be to these 
presents, if they were shown. 

Given at Rome under the fisherman s ring at S. Peters, 
January i s *, 1891, the i 3 th year of our pontificate. 

N. Cardinal Ledochowski. 

S. Aloysius honoured by God after his death. 

od never allows himself to be outdone in gene 
rosity. Aloysius had given himself and all that 
he possessed to God, and God on His side gave 
him all he desired. Even during his lifetime our 
Saint declared that he had never prayed for any 
thing that he had not obtained; how much more then now 
that he is in heaven receiving the reward of all his virtue. In 
fact it would be an endless task to try to recount all the 
graces and favours received through his intercession. The 
miracles related by Father Cepari, fade away in comparison 
with those that happened after his time. 

As early as 1766 there appeared in Padua a book in 
four volumes entitled: "Of the miraculous favours wrought by 
S. Aloysius Gonzaga of the Society of Jesus". 9 The author of 
the book was Father Andrew Budrioli, who was born at Forli 
Dec. 20 th , 1679, and entered the Society of Jesus on May 4 th , 
1695. This pious and learned religious, whose name we have 

3 1 2 Appendix. Chap. 

already met with more than once, had received from his 
Father General, Michael Angelo Tamburini, the honourable 
commission of acting as advocate for the Canonization of 
Blessed Aloysius and of preparing the necessary papers. Bu- 
drioli set about the task with all possible zeal. When his 
immediate aim, the Canonization was obtained he still spared 
himself no pains, devoting his whole life to the glorification of 
the Saint. But this is not surprising since he owed its pro 
longation to the powerful intercession of the Angelic youth. 

Budrioli had never been strong. His health began to 
give way, and in 1717 he rapidly grew so much worse that it 
seemed that he must very soon share the fate of his brothers, 
who had died of consumption. In obedience to an interior 
impulse, he bound himself by a vow, if he recovered, not only 
to do everything in his power to promote the Canonization of 
the Blessed Aloysius, but also to write all the evidence necessary 
with his own hand. He was at once cured, and he lived more 
than forty years, during which his one aim and object was the 
glorification of his heavenly benefactor. a ) Thus in the four 
volumes of the work mentioned above, he has collected two 
thousand three hundred and forty five miracles wrought through 
the invocation of S. Aloysius, including the account of his 
own recovery. Of course it would be impossible for us to re 
late, however briefly, the history of all these favours. 

In the year 1736, Father Retz, the General of the Society 
of Jesus was dangerously ill. He was suffering from an abcess 
on which six painful operations had been .performed in vain. 
He received the last Sacraments, and his death was hourly 
expected. One day Father Budrioli came to see the sick man. 
He exhorted him to address himself with confidence to S. Aloy 
sius, whose picture he left with him. The General, though en 
tirely resigned to the will of God, began to ask for the favour, 
as he was desired, and he begged Father Budrioli to get others 
also to pray. The next day all the Novices and Scholastics 
assembled at the tomb of the Saint and there received Holy 
Communion and prayed earnestly for the recovery of their 
beloved General. Then came June the i 2 th when the Novena in 
honour of S. Aloysius begins. Father Retz felt in his soul a 

a) "Delle grazie di S. Luigi." Tom. IV. pp. 105106. 

VI. . Appendix. 313 

marvellous confidence and assurance, such as he had never be 
fore experienced. On the first day of the Novena an im 
provement began, and steadily increased through each of the 
succeeding days, until, when the day of the Feast arrived, the 

Miraculous Picture of S. Aloysius at Sasso in Valtellina. 
From a picture painted in Milan in 1608, and given that same year by Father Carrara, 
Rector of the College of the Society at Como, to Don Nicolas Longhi, Vice-Curate, 

of Sasso. 
(See Appendix, ch. 6, p. 318.) 

General was perfectly well. From that day forth all the in 
fluence he possessed as General of the Society was exerted to 
promote the devotion to S. Aloysius, not only among his own 
subjects, but amongst all ranks and classes of men. a ) 

a) 1. c. pp. 489492. 

314 Appendix. Chap. 

On February 10, 176 5, in the Noviciate of the Society 
of Jesus at Rome one of the Novices, Nicholas Aloysius Cele- 
stini, was lying at the point of death. Suddenly the colour 
returned to his face and with sparkling eyes and a clear voice 
he cried out: "I am cured. S. Aloysius has restored me to 
health. I have seen him; he has spoken to me; he has granted 
my prayer. I can see and distinguish everything in the room. 
Look at me. I am perfectly well. Bring me my clothes and 
give me something to eat." They all pressed him to tell what 
had passed. And this is the substance of his narrative. During 
the whole morning his eyes had kept constantly yet involuntarily 
turning towards the wall on which hung a picture of S. Aloysius. 
Suddenly the picture was bathed in a flood of light, and the 
Saint seemed to come forth towards him in its midst. In his 
left hand he carried a Crucifix. His appearance was entran- 
cingly lovely and gracious, as with his right hand he beckoned 
to the sick youth to come to him. This Nicholas endea 
voured to do, and, as those who were with him had noticed, 
he rose up in his bed, but fell back again from weakness. 
At the same time he could not refrain from exclaiming: "Oh 
my Saint, how beautiful, how beautiful you are!" In obedience 
to a second sign again he raised himself up, and the Saint 
said to him: "Which do you desire, recovery or death?" He 
answered: "Whichever God wills." Then S. Aloysius replied: 
"Because throughout your illness you have wished for nothing 
but to receive the Holy Viaticum and have been in all things 
wholly resigned to the will of God, He has at my inter 
cession granted you life. And this, that you may strive earnestly 
to perfection, and may do all that is in your power to spread 
the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is specially 
pleasing to God." Then the Angelic youth said several other 
things to him, some for his instruction and others to console 
him. He promised him that his disease should never return. 
Finally he desired him to practice the devotion of the six Sun 
days in honour of his six years in the Society of Jesus. Cele- 
stini then summoned up courage and asked to be relieved from 
the violent head-aches from which he frequently suffered. But 
the Saint answered with great kindness: "It is not God s will 
that you should be wholly free from this trouble. Besides I 
wish you should endure it from time to time in memory of 

VI. Appendix. 315 

the sufferings of Christ and in imitation of me, for all my life 
I desired to have similar pains for the sake of greater confor 
mity with my Lord, Who bore so much for me." Here S. Aloy- 
sius blessed him with his right hand, and vanished. The joy 
of the Novices can easily be imagined, as they went with their 
Brother to the Church, there to pour forth their united thanks 
givings to God and to the Saint. Celestini was ever from that 
time forth an ardent promoter of the devotion to the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus. a ) 

In the year 1634 Joseph Spinelli, a Scholastic of the 
Society of Jesus in the College at Palermo, had an apoplectic 
fit, which deprived him of all movement and speech, though it 
left his mind unharmed. He had received the last Sacraments 
and was supposed to be dying. But in this extremity a firm 
confidence sprung up in his mind that S. Aloysius, of whom 
he had a relic in his room, would cure him. During the night 
of i i th February he fell into a deep sleep and in a dream 
saw S. John Berchmans and S. Aloysius standing before him. 
They graciously asked him what he wished from them: "The 
restoration of my speech and my health," said the sick man. 
"You shall have both", said S. Aloysius, and added: "Be 
strong and courageous, for you have a long journey before 
you." On this he awoke, but immediately relapsed into a gentle 
slumber. Again he saw the two angelic youths standing before 
him. S. John Berchmans held a little vase in his hand. 
S. Aloysius admonished him to become a Saint, and make a 
good use of his restored speech, and to embrace gladly for the 
love of Christ all the severe labours and crosses that awaited 
him, promising that he himself would be his guide. Then he 
commanded the sick man to renew a vow, which he had made 
a few days before, that he would fast on the eve of the Feast 
of the Saint, and practise some other devotions. After this he 
dipped his finger in the vase and touched his tongue. Suddenly 
the sick man cried out in a loud voice: "O Blessed Aloysius! 
O Blessed Aloysius!" Four days later the two angelic youths 
appeared to him again. S. John again came with vase in hand. 
Aloysius gave his client some useful admonitions, and bade him 
henceforth take the name of Aloysius, then again he dipped 

a) Vita di S. Luigi. Roma, 1862. P. IV, pp. 272274. 

3 1 6 Appendix. Chap. 

his finger in the vase, and anointed the thigh, side, and arm of 
the lame man, saying to him: "Almighty God grant you may 
walk, through the merits of our holy Father Ignatius, and may 
your walking be to you unto eternal life. Amen." S. John 
wiped the parts that had been anointed, and Aloysius said: 
Now, Joseph, stand up, you are cured, be true to your promises 
and lead a holy life." The two heavenly benefactors then dis 
appeared, and Joseph awoke and called out: "O my dear 
Aloysius! O my dear Aloysius! I am cured, I am perfectly 
well!" Amidst tears and thanksgiving he rose at once and went 
into the Church, where he served Mass, and full of blessed joy 
received holy Communion. He continued his studies, became 
a Priest, and obtained the grace to be allowed to go to the 
Indies on the Missions. His superiors sent him to the Philippine 
Islands, where Father Aloysius, as he was now always called, 
lived as an Apostle and died like a saint. a ) 

Our Saint worked a number of miracles in favour of the 
Canon Wolfgang von Asch of Landshut, in Bavaria. He 
himself made a statement on oath, which was printed and 
published. When in the year 1617 Wolfgang was studying 
rhetoric with the Jesuits at Munich, he was attacked by an illness 
which deprived him of his sight and caused him great suffering. 
After many unsuccessful efforts, the doctors declared the evil 
to be incurable. It happened that a fellow- student of Wolfgang, 
Antony di Lambertengo, came back after the vacation bringing 
with him a little bottle of wonderful oil. This was taken from 
the lamp that burned before the picture of S. Aloysius at Sasso, 
his home, which worked numberless cures. Antony related to 
Wolfgang s master, Father Spaiser, the wonders that had oc 
curred in his town, and the Father immediately hastened to his 
sick pupil with the little phial. He narrated to him the prodigies 
wrought by the intercession of the Saint, and encouraged him 
to have recourse to him. AVolfgang, who up to this time, had 
known little beyond the name of the Saint, felt at once in his 
heart a great confidence in the Saint s power. He prepared him 
self by the reception of the Sacraments for the administration 
of this heavenly remedy, and his eyes were three times anointed 
with the miraculous oil. 

a) Acta Sanctorum 1. c. pp. 1075 1078. 

VI. Appendix. 3 1 7 

At the third unction he felt a terrible pain, as if a hand 
was pressing his eyeballs, and there came from his eyes a 
quantity of matter and water. When he opened them, all were 
rejoiced to see that they were perfectly cured and healthy. In 
thanksgiving in his latter years, Wolfgang three times made a 
pilgrimage to Rome to the Saint s tomb. On these occasions 
he several times experienced the wonderful protection of his 
holy Patron, who visibly appeared to him, as is related in the 
above-mentioned attestation with all the circumstances. When 
in 1636 the Swedes took possession of the city of Landshut, 
Canon Wolfgang was sent as a hostage to Augsburg, where he 
remained in prison nearly three years. In consequence of the 
many sufferings he had to endure in this confinement, he became 
very dangerously ill. When he was apparently dying and was 
already even thought to be dead by the bystanders, he saw 
S. Aloysius standing beside his bed and scattering roses upon 
it. Wolfgang promised a second pilgrimage to Rome, if 
Aloysius would obtain his cure, and from that time he grew 
better. His recovery was so extraordinary, that the doctor, when 
he saw one whom he had given up as dead coming to meet 
him with outstretched hands, exclaimed full of astonishment: "You 
are the disgrace of physicians and of the art of medicine. We not 
only thought you dying, but already dead." Though the medical 
man was a lutheran, he made no objection to acknowledge 
openly, that this cure was a great miracle. Several witnesses 
heard him say that the doctors employed would have hastened 
the sick man s death instead of prolonging his life, had not a 
heavenly Power intervened. This is so much the more credible 
from the fact that the sick man was ordered to be bled no less 
than fifty two times. On taking leave, the doctor said: "You 
raise doubts in me regarding my religion," and he asked for the 
life of the Saint, to whom Wolfgang ascribed his cure, that he 
might read it. 

Among the many works which the cultured and industrious 
Father James Bidermann left behind him was an interesting 
little Latin book, which contains a detailed account of the story 
of Canon Wolfgang. It ran through many editions and has 
been given a place in the Bollandists and in the History of the 
Province of the Society of Jesus of Upper Germany. The work 
was a posthumous production and was first published in 1640. 

318 Appendix. Chap. 

It has or its title: Aloysius; or The favours conferred by God 
through the merits of B. Aloysius upon Canon Wolfgang von Asch. a ) 

After Rome, Castiglione and Florence, no place was more 
remarkable for its devotion to S. Aloysius than the rich district 
of Valtellina in Northern Italy. Of fifteen miracles approved 
by the Holy See for his Canonization as many as seven were 
selected from the processes held in Valtellina of miracles wrought 
in that neighbourhood. The great sanctuary of our Lady at 
Tirano, midway up the valley between the lake of Como and 
Bormio, attracted, among the throng of pilgrims, in 1607,. 
Father Scipio Carrara, Rector of the Jesuit College at Como. 
At Morbegno he fell in with the parish priest of Bormio, Mon- 
signor Peranda, and they journeyed on together. At Tirano 
the Father lent Peranda a life of the newly beatified Aloysius, 
to whom the priest had already a great devotion. The book 
passed from hand to hand till it came to the curate of Sasso, 
a little hamlet of shepherds in a bleak and inhospitable corner 
of the valley. So full was this good curate, Nicholas Longhi, 
of the Life that he always carried it about with him, and read 
it constantly to the people, and he especially strove to excite devo 
tion to the Saint among the pious ladies of Sondrio and the 
neighbouring towns. Nicholas never rested till he had get from 
Father Carrara a picture of S. Aloysius, which he put up in 
his little village church, and before which a lamp was kept 
burning. It was the oil from this lamp which God chose to 
employ as the medium of the wonders by which to glorify his 
angelic servant. 

So numerous were the miracles that began to be wrought, 
that, in 1608, Father Cepari endeavoured to have a canonical 
investigation on the spot. Difficulties arose from the authorities, 
who were mostly protestants. But finally in 1 6 1 1 faculties were 
given to Monsignor Peranda to make the requisite enquiries, 
and to receive the depositions on oath. The devotion to 
S. Aloysius was greatly increased by the gift of a relic of the 
Saint from Prince Francis Gonzaga, his brother. 

It soon became evident that a church would have to be 
built, capacious enough to receive the crowds of pilgrims who 
flocked to the new sanctuary from far and near. The work seemed 

a) Acta Sanctorum 1. c. pp. 1078 1084. 

VI. Appendix. 210 

specially blessed by God, for when least expected, in digging 
the foundations, an abundance of sand, clay and stone of an 
excellent quality was discovered, and, still more important, a 
plentiful stream of pure water sprang up which came to be re 
garded as having miraculous powers. 

A vast Church was completed in 1 664, when it was solemnly 
consecrated by the great Cardinal, Frederick Borromeo. The 
dedication was, like that of the old church, S. Michael; but in 
popular parlance, it was always known as the Church of the 

Relics of S. Aloysius at Sasso in the Valtellina. 
(See Appendix, ch. 6.) 

Beato. Among those who received a special assistance at this 
shrine was Giovanna, a daughter of Prince Francis Gonzaga. 
She had been on a visit of devotion to Sasso, and was going 
on to Our Lady of Tirano, when the carriage, in which she 
drove, was overturned at a steep ascent, and rolled down into 
the torrent below. The servants made their way down at once, 
expecting to find their mistress lifeless or mangled by the fall. 
To their surprise they discovered her sitting quietly as if nothing 
had happened, with a pet dog on her lap. She said that as 
she fell she invoked our Lady and her Blessed uncle, and she 
felt that an invisible hand had supported and protected her. 

320 Appendix. Chap. VI. 

She showed her gratitude in after life, when she was married 
to a Spanish nobleman, Don James Zapata, and was living at 
Milan. The precious relic of the Saint which her father had 
given to Sasso, Giovanna caused to be enshrined in a splendid 
reliquary of silver enriched with costly jewels. 

As Saint Antony of Padua is known in Northern Italy by 
the name of il Santo, so from the number of miracles which 
were wrought through his intercession was S. Aloysius known 
in those parts as il Beato. 

We must not linger further over the favours which God, 
here and in other places , has granted at the petitions of 
S. Aloysius. No one can fail to be astonished, who reads the 
ecclesiastical records and other authenticated documents in 
which they have been collected, so numerous, so extraordinary 
and so various are they. There is no bodily want, no spiritual 
need, no case so hopeless, in which God does not grant help 
through the intercession and merits of S. Aloysius. Thus does God 
honour those who give Him honour. We may exclaim: "Nimis 
honor ati sunt amid tui Deus, nimis est confortatus principatus 
eorum. Thy friends are made exceedingly honourable, their 
principality is exceedingly strengthened." Ps. cxxxviu 17. 


Chronology of the Life of S. Aloysius. 

i 568 March 9. Birth and baptism of S. Aloysius, at the castle 
of Castiglione. p. 7. 

i 5 73 S. Aloysius, then nearly five years old, stays for several 
months at Casal Maggiore. While there he exposed his 
life to great danger by firing a cannon. p. 9. 

Beginning of June, he returns to Castiglione. p. 10. 

1576 The Saint, then eight years old, stays at Monferrato, 
where his father Don Ferrante had gone with his whole 
family, because of the threatened plague. p. i5. 

1677 June. Departure from Monferrato. Stays several months 
at the Bagni di Lucca. Towards the end of August leaves 
for Florence. p. 16. 

1578 Residence in Florence. S. Aloysius then ten years old 
makes a vow of perpetual virginity before the picture of 
our Lady of the Annunziata, in the church of the same 
name. p. 17. 

Pays a passing visit to his father, at the Bagni di Lucca. 

1679 Residence in Florence. In September, pays another visit 
to his father at the Bagni di Lucca. On Nov. 10, 
leaves Florence for Mantua, where S. Aloysius, then 
eleven years old, resolves to embrace the religious state 
and give up the Marquisate to his brother Rodolph. p. 22. 

1 5 80 Between June 18 and June 20, goes to Castiglione. 
There the gifts of prayer and of tears are bestowed on 
S. Aloysius. p. 24. 

July 22. He receives his First Communion, at the age 
of twelve years and four months, from the hands of 
S. Charles Borromeo. p. 28. 

322 Appendix. 

1 5 80 Nov., goes to Casale Monferrato; is nearly drowned on 
the way. p. 30. 

i 5 8 1 Residence of S. Aloysius, then thirteen years of age, at 
Casale Monferrato. Here he makes the resolution to enter 
the priesthood. 

May. He returns to Castiglione where his life was in 
danger by fire. p. 36. 

September. He sets out from Italy to meet the Empress 
at Trent. Sept. 26, Padua, Vicenza; Sept. 30, Verona, 
Brescia, Lodi; Oct. 8, Pavia; Oct. 12, Novi; Oct. 16, 
arrives at Genoa; Nov. 8, leaves Genoa for Marseilles; 
Dec. 12, lands at Collioura. pp. 48, 379. 

1 5 82 Jan. 6, Barcelona; Feb. 5, Saragossa. Feb. 10. He leaves 
for Madrid; March 6, arrives at Madrid; Nov. 21, death 
of Don Diego, Infante of Spain, to whom S. Aloysius had 
been page of honour. p. 46. 

1683 August i 5. He is called to the Society of Jesus, p. 64. 

1 5 84 In the early part of this year S. Aloysius returns to Italy. 
July, arrives at Castiglione. Visit to the princes of Northern 
Italy. Departure for Milan. pp. 60 70. 

1 5 85 July. S. Aloysius leaves Milan and goes to Mantua to 
make the Spiritual Exercises and then returns to Casti 
glione. p. 78. 
Nov. 2. He renounces his right to the Marquisate. p. 91. 
Nov. 4. He sets out for Rome. p. 92. 
Nov. 2 5 . He enters the Noviciate of S. Andrea, Rome. p. 9 8 . 

1 5 8 6 He makes his first year s noviciate at S. Andrea. Death of 
his Father, Feb. 13. p. 108. 

Towards the end of Oct. goes to Naples. p. 144. 

1 5 87 May 8. S. Aloysius leaves Naples for Rome. He completes 
his course of philosophy at the Roman College, p. i 5 i . 
Nov. He begins his studies of Theology. p. i52. 

Nov. 25. The Saint takes his first vows. p. 159. 

1 5 88 Feb. 28. He is ordained Doorkeeper; March 6, Reader; 
March 13, Exorcist; March 20, Acolyte. p. 159. 

1589 S. Aloysius continues his studies of Theology at the 
Roman College. 

Sept. He goes to Mantua and Castiglione to settle the 
dispute between the Duke of Mantua and his own 
brother Rodolph. p. 1 8 5 . 

Appendix. 323 

1689 Nov. 28. He returns to Milan, and continues his studies 
of Theology, with but one short interruption. p. 199. 

1690 S. Aloysius makes a passing visit to Mantua and Castiglione. 
March, 12. He returns to Milan. Has a revelation of 
his approaching death. p. 202. 
May. Returns to Rome, and resumes his Theology, p. 213. 

1591 S. Aloysius nurses the sick in the hospitals of S. Sisto and 
Sta. Maria dellaConsolazione. He takes the infection, p. 220. 
June 20. His holy death. p. 239. 

1600 April 4. S. Aloysius apparition to S. Mary Magdalen of 
Pazzi. This and a miracle on April 8, in the Convent where 
S. Mary Magdalen was living, causes his cultus to spread 
rapidly through Northern Italy and Rome. pp. 267, 274. 

1604 A fay 12. The Synod of Mantua petitions the Pope for 
the Canonisation of the Saint. p. 278. 
June 21. The town of Brescia with the permission of the 
Bishop celebrates the feast of the servant of God for the 
first time. p. 2 So. 
July 28. The picture of S. Aloysius for the first time exposed 
for public veneration in the Church of Castiglione. p. 28 i. 

1 60 5 May 13. In the Church of the Annunziata of the Roman 
College, the remains of S. Aloysius solemnly translated from 
the chapel of S. Sebastian to that of the Madonna, p. 245. 
May 21. By permission of Paul V., the picture of the. 
servant of God, in the Church of the Annunziata at Rome 
openly exposed to veneration. pp. 246, 297. 
Sept. 26. In the Consistory Aloysius was vivae vocis 
oraculo pronounced Blessed. p. 298. 
Oct. 19. The Brief appeared in which the Pope confirms 
the title of Blessed. p. 298. 

1618 March 26. Paul V. granted that the feast of B. Aloysius 
be held on the 2i st of June, and the Mass of the day to 
be said in his honour, throughout all the States of the 
Gonzagas. This permission was soon afterwards extended 
to the houses of the Society of Jesus in Rome. p. 303. 

1621 Oct. 2. This permission was extended to the whole Society 
of Jesus. All priests saying Mass in the Churches of the 
order were likewise allowed to say this Mass. p. 303. 

1726 June 21. Pope Benedict XIII. gave S. Aloysius to the 
schools of the Society of Jesus as special Patron, p. 308. 

324 Appendix. 

1726 Dec. 10. The decree of Canonization of S. Aloysius. 
signed by Benedict XIII. p. 3 6 - 

Dec. 31. The Canonization celebrated at S. Peter s, p. 306. 

1729 Nov. 22. S. Aloysius declared special Patron of all stu 
dents throughout the entire Catholic world. p. 308. 

Let us conclude with a portrait of the Saint. We take it 
trait by trait from the acts of the ecclesiastical Processes which 
were drawn up for the purpose of his Beatification and Canoni 

From the testimony of those who knew him, Aloysius was 
of middle height, rather tall than short. His head was bent 
slightly forward, his eyes were large and dark, his nose^ some 
what aquiline. He was strongly built, but the austerities of his 
life soon undermined his robust health. Yet even his emaciated 
features, and his cheeks faintly tinged by the deep and intense 
emotions of his soul, could not conceal the natural vigour of 
his constitution. 

His dress, while in attendance at Court, was of dark 
material, and was remarkable for nothing save its simplicity. 

In his body there dwelt a soul which was truly great. 
Aloysius was endowed by God with the most brilliant talents. 
His professors and fellow-students all marvelled at his extra 
ordinarily clear understanding which was joined to a most 
retentive memory. They were not less astonished at his wide 
knowledge and reading. To the rare keensightedness of his 
mind there was joined an equal strength of will. Lifted far above 
low aims, his will was ever directed to great things, and 
manifested an unusual energy in their pursuit. 

While yet a boy, still more when a youth, Aloysius, by 
reason of his thoughtfulness and sober judgment, his prudence 
and quickness, was more than a man in his dealings. When 
his Brethren styled him their little General, the Fathers of the 
Roman College meant to express that if God did but spare his 
life, he would at some future time rule the whole Society of 
Jesus. 10 

From the report of his biographers, Aloysius was of a 
somewhat vehement temper, of a noble and chivalrous ^ character 
as were Ms forefathers, full of courage and decision, in a word 
a born prince. It is sometimes said that pride is the prevailing. 

VL Appendix. ^ 

passion of great souls. If we are to believe Aloysius himself, 
it was the defect to which he was inclined. But this much we 
have seen, so hard had he laboured at the task of self conquest 
that it was impossible to cause him greater pain than by paying 
any compliment to his endowments. 

His natural qualities however fade into the background 
when we compare them with the supernatural gifts granted him 
by God. Graces that are given to others after twenty or thirty 
years of hard struggle were already bestowed on him during 
his early childhood. 

With him one particular virtue, supernatural charity in its 
twofold aim, first towards God Himself, then towards his neigh 
bours, as God s handiwork and image, ruled over and added 
lustre to all his other virtues. 

By reason of his sublime method of prayer, he was ad 
mitted to a sort of intuition of the Infinite Beauty of God, and 
he was attached to It with the most ardent and intense super 
natural love. This charity attached him to God with such irre 
sistible force, that it caused him even physical pain to withdraw 
himself from His gentle bonds. This loving appreciation of the 
Highest Good made all earthly goods, even the greatest, seem 
little in his eyes; it made him forget himself, or to speak more 
truly, for the honour of his Beloved, throw himself away zeal 
ously in His Service. 

As he was thus raised above other men in his dealings 
with God, S. Aloysius produced a holy awe and respectful fear 
wherever he appeared. Everyone, young and old felt that in 
his presence they must keep a restraint upon themselves. Aloy 
sius however in no wise showed himself cold and stiff with those 
about him. He was, though so severe towards himself, all love 
and affability with others, ever ready for harmless merriment 
as a means of approaching others. Most obliging towards every 
one, he was most grateful for the least service, and could scarcely 
find words enough to express the thanks of his heart. 

To seek out and to attend on the sick, to collect alms 
for the poor, even in the streets of Rome, such were his 
favourite recreations, which he begged from his superiors. But 
far nearer to his heart than their mere earthly welfare lay the 
salvation of the souls of others. To teach the ignorant, to in 
struct the careless in the public squares and streets in the truths 

Saint Aloysius. 2 "* 

2 26 Appendix. Chap. VI. 

of religion, to lead them to confession, these were the tasks most 
dear to his heart. A great longing to carry the light of the 
Gospel to the heathen of India and Japan, had early stirred 
him when but a boy, and it waxed stronger with advancing years. 
Until this longing could be satisfied, he was a diligent apostle 
among his Brethren. 

He sought to make peace between opposing factions, to 
banish open scandal from the world around him; and to do this 
he feared no sacrifice, and even gave up the peaceful solitude 
of his religious life, nor could he rest while men were in en 
mity to each other and to God. 

Such love of his neighbour merited a great reward. This 
Aloysius obtained, for he died a victim of his devotion towards 
the plague-stricken. 

The ancients are praised for having in their master pieces 
wedded the graces of youth with the maturity of age. It is 
worthy of note that in S. Aloysius the Heavenly Wisdom, that 
orders all things well and wisely, had united wondrously many 
opposite qualities, the tender years of the child with the maturity 
of manhood and of grey hairs, the weakness of the flesh with 
the qualities of an Angel, the heights of earthly greatness with 
the depths of Christian humility, the sublimest gifts of contem 
plation joined to an active life, perfect innocence with the most 
severe penance, the pains of earth with the peace and joy of 
the blessed in Heaven. 

This much we can say in conclusion, Aloysius Gonzaga 
was an extraordinary manifestation of God s power; but, for 
that very reason, as a learned layman 11 has declared, in him 
nothing can be measured by the ordinary standard. 


Coat of Arms of the Tana Coat of Arms of the Delia Rovere 
family. family. 

(See P. I, note 3.) 

(See P. I, note 3.) 

Notes to Part I. 


i. (p. 3.) The Italian word Castiglione is derived from the Latin 
castelhim and means, if the augmentative termination one be included in 
the derivation, a larger castle, a larger fortress, in contradistinction to 
an ordinary one (castello), or a smaller one (castelletto). But if Casti 
glione be derived immediately from the mediaeval Castellio, it means a 
small fortress. 

The designation dello Stiviere is an addition by which our Casti 
glione is distinguished from other places in Italy bearing the same name, 
such as Castiglione Mantuana and Castiglione Aretina, in the immediate 

Cepari calls it Castiglione dello Stiviere, whilst other writers generally 
call it delle Stiviere. The former may have been its original designation, 
and this is borne out by the following passage from Chap. 37 of Bona- 
mente s Chronicon Mantuamim, quoted by Muratori in his "Antiquities of 
mediaeval Italy": 

"Ora qui appresso si ti conteroe (contero) 

Castelli, che Gonzaga dominava, 

Del Bresciano e Cremonese diroe 

Montechiaro e Calcina dominava 

Castel Goffredo, Castion dai Stivieri" etc. 

Now here will I narrate to thee 
The towns which the Gonzagas own 
Of Brescian and Cremona land 
They Montechiaro and Calcina hold, 
Castel Goffredo and i Stivieri town. 


Notes to the first Part. 

Vide "Antiquitates Italicae medii sevi. Auctore Lud. Antonio Muratorio." 
Mediolani 1741. p. 1175. Castiglione di Stivieri is the form in which 
it is found in manuscripts, and this points in the same direction. More 
over in his will Don Fenante calls himself Marquis of "Stiverio". Gon- 
zaga Archives D. VI. 3. 1586. 

If therefore it be true that our Castiglione was celebrated in ancient 
times for its silk and woollen boots, the addition of dello Stiviere or 
degli Stivieri may owe its origin to these industries; for, according to the 
Dictionary della Crusca, which is considered in Italy the authority in such 
questions, stiviere is the same as stivale, calzaretto, i. e. a little boot. 

Arrighi says that the derivation of the name was suggested to him 
by one conversant with the history of the place. "Storia di Castiglione 
delle Stiviere sotto il dominio dei Gonzaga." Mantova, 1855. p. 160.. 
But as the word "stiviere" became obsolete and therefore by degrees was 
no longer understood dello Stiviere or degli Stivieri may easily have 
become delle Stiviere. La Stiviera is not an Italian word. Janning, the 
Bollandist, invariably renders "Castiglione dello Stiviere", "Castilio Stive- 
rorum", and therefore he seems to have considered Cepari s designation 
the correct one. Acta Sanctorum Junii. Tom. IV. Antverpiae, 1707. 
However, the derivation of the name is just as uncertain as the origin 
of the town and fortress themselves. 

2. (p. 3.) The writer here says that Don Ferrante was third cousin 
to Duke William of Mantua. It would have been more correct to have 
said that they were related in the third and fourth degrees. See Genea 
logical table. 

3. (p. 3.) The Tana family are, according to a very old tradition, 
of German origin. Cibrario asserts this in his "Storia di Chieri". To 
rino, 1827. Tom. I. p. 146. The tradition certainly existed, and its 
correctness is by no means improbable. On the other hand, a further 
tradition that they descend from the Truchsess-Tanne-Waldburg family 
may have its foundation in an attempt to add fresh lustre to an honoured 
family by asserting its relationship to another high family, rather than in 
historical facts. The similarity of the names Tana and Tanne, the office 
of Imperial Cup-bearer or Butler which was hereditary in the Truchsess- 
Waldburg family, and the somewhat similar office of Steward to the Duke 
of Savoy, held by several members of the Tana family in the i6 th and 
1 7th centuries might be the grounds for such an attempt. Piedmont at 
the period referred to by Cepari was under French rule, and hence the 
fact that Donna Martha became maid of honour to Isabella, daughter of 
the King of France, on her marriage with Philip II. The Tanas gloried 
in reckoning among their descendants, in addition to S. Aloysius, B. Maria 
degli Angeli of the Discalced Carmelites. This Saint enjoyed during her 
lifetime so great a fame for sanctity that King Vittorio Amedeo II. often 
sought her out, in order to obtain her advice. She died in the year 1717. 
Donna Martha s brother, Hercules (vide Part I, Chap. 10, p. 62) was 
the great-grandfather of B. Maria degli Angeli. 

Notes to the first Part. 331 

Donna Martha s maternal grandfather, Jerome della Rovere, was the 
uncle of Cardinal della Rovere so often mentioned in this life of S. Aloy- 
sius. We shall not attempt to decide whether Donna Martha on her 
mother s side was also related to Sixtus IV. and Julius II., both of 
whom were descended from the house of della Rovere. A distant re 
lationship to the house of della Rovere of Turin, from which Donna 
Martha s mother descended, and to that della Rovere of Savona, to which 
Sixtus IV. and Julius II. belonged, is highly probable. 

At all events after the elevation of Sixtus IV. to the Papal chair, 
the intimacy between the two families became as close as if they were 
related. Compare the very serious work by Father Fedele Savio, S. J. 
entitled "Le Famiglie della Rovere e Tana, Parenti di S. Luigi Gonzaga, 
Memorie Storico-Genealogiche". Pisa, 1890. pp. 15, 18, 7. Two genea 
logical tables of the families de la Rovere and Tana, prepared with great 
care, are appended. 

S. Aloysius is then, closely connected with Germany. He belonged 
to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. On his maternal 

Autograph of the Marquis Don Ferrante, father of S. Aloysiu 

The original letter is in the State Archives at Florence. 
Section, Archivio Mediceo. 2956. Lettere del Marchese di Castiglione. 

side he was descended from Germans. On his father s side he was closely 
related with the present Imperial House of Germany. The ancestress of 
the House of Gonzaga di Castiglione was the noble Barbara, wife of 
Ludovic II., second Marquis of Mantua, and grandchild of Frederick VI., 
Burgrave of Nuremberg and first Margrave and Electoral Prince of 
Brandenburg. See Genealogical table. 

Our illustration, taken from the painting in fresco by Andrea Mantegna 
in the "Camera degli Sposi" in the ancient Castle of the Gonzagas, which 
now serves for the archives, represents the scene of Lewis reconciliation 
with his son Frederick. The Duchess Barbara of Brandenburg, who ini 
tiated and completed the work of reconciliation, appears in the middle of 
the picture, radiant with joy. On her right is seated Duke Lewis; behind 
him is seen his secretary Ascanius Andreasi. The grown-up children, 
John Francis, Rodolph (great-grandfather of Aloysius), and Susanna 
are standing further behind him. In the foreground at the feet of the 
Duchess are the younger children, Aloysius, Dorothy and Cecily. Frede 
rick, who is coming up the steps with his trusty friends, is expected. 
The others are relations, servants and pages of honour. 

332 Notes to the first Part. 

On another wall of the "Camera degli Sposi" the following dedi 
cation may be read: 








To honour the illustrious and most trusty Prince Lewis, second Marquis 

of Mantua, 

and his illustrious consort Barbara, 

the incomparable ornament of her sex, 

their subject, Andrew Mantegna, 

completed this work 

in the year 1474. 

4- (P- 7-) The f rtress f Castiglione with the castle that once 
crowned the top of the hill, no longer exists. During the Spanish War 
of Succession, Castiglione, in consequence of the Treaty of Milan, March 3, 
1701, came into the possession of the Imperial party. However, on the 
renewed attack of the French they were unable to hold out against Count 
Revel, and therefore were again obliged to forsake it in 1702. But the 
Austrians could not get over the loss of a place so important for stra 
tegical purposes, and so, at the end of August 1/06, the Hereditary Prince 
of Hesse-Cassel, with a contingent from the Tyrol, determined to recover 
it. With his troops were united those of General Wetzel. The recap 
ture of Castiglione therefore seemed to be secured, for it was garrisoned 
by only 500 French. However, as soon as Marshal Villars heard of the 
approach of the Imperial troops, he sought assistance from Count Medavi, 
who was stationed with his troops on the banks of the Oglio. He im 
mediately appeared on the scene, and a decisive battle took place at 
Guidizzoli, in which the Imperial forces were beaten. Castiglione was 
retained by the French, and, to secure the possession of it for the future, 
Medavi considered it desirable to raze the fortress. He therefore ordered 
it to be demolished. This was done; and at the end of the year 1706 
it was levelled to the ground. With it went the glorious castle which 
had sheltered so many heroes within its walls; and what is more, had 
the glory of being the birth-place of S. Aloysius. At first the walls of 
the room in which the saint was born, remained standing, but subsequently 
owing to the troubled times, these also were swept away. Of the castle 
there remains only the gateway, and after passing through it, on the right, 
an unimportant row of houses, which served as the governor s residence, 
besides the little Church of S. Sebastian. There is to be seen also here 
and there a watch-tower on the walls, which surround the hill. The 
only things saved from the venerable castle are eight stones which formed 
part of the floor of the room in which S. Aloysius was born. These 

The Lords, Counts, Marquises, Princes and 

The portraits of the members of the Mantua branch of the House of Gonzaga ar 

of the Castigrlione branch are from oil paintings, and Medals in the possession o 

Martino all Argine, Bozzolo and Sabbioneta, particularly from 

Dukes of Gonzaga of Mantua, Castiglione, Guastala, 


17) Charles II. 

18) Ferdinando II. 

19) Rudolph I. 

20) Lewis -Alexander. 

21) Ferrante I. 

22) Rudolph IL 

23) Francis. 

24) Lewis L 

25) Ferrante IL 

26) Charles. 

27) Ferrante III. 

28) Ferrante I. 

29) Caesar I. 

30) Ferrante II. 

31) Caesar II. 

32) Ferrante III. 

; from engravings from drawings made by Count d Arco of frescoes in the Hall of the Ducal P 
Professor Jozzi. The portraits of the Guastalla, Bosezolo and Sabbioneta branches 
those over their tombs, but in some cases also from statues, representing them as knights, in I 

Notes to the first Part. 333 

are preserved in the College belonging to the "Virgins of Jesus" at Ca- 
stiglione which will be referred to hereafter. On entering the rooms in 
which Cinthia, niece of S. Aloysius and foundress of the College, lived 
and died, one sees in the wall on the right hand side a cupboard closed 
with glass doors. The stones are fixed in this, and there is the following 
inscription explaining their origin: 

Parietibus, Quos olim Incoluit Pi 
issima Dona Cynthia Gonzaga Pri 
mus Lapis Collegii Virginum Jesu, Hoc 
Unum Deerat Ornamenti Ac Decoris, ut, 
Eversa Castilionensi Arce e Diruto 
Cubiculi B. Aloysii Gonzage illius 
Patrui Pavimento Erepti Lateres in 
Aedificationem Insererentur. 

- "One thing still was wanting for the becoming adornment of the walls 
within which formerly dwelt the most virtuous Lady Cinthia Gonzaga, 

the foundation-stone ot the College of the Virgins of Jesus stones 

from the floor of the bed -room of her uncle, S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

They were inserted in this building, when after the destruction of the 
fortress of Castiglione the room had fallen into ruins." 

Autograph of Donna Martha, mother of S. Aloysius. 

The original letter is in the possession of Professor lozzi. 

In the cupboard itself is still preserved S. Aloysius silver crucifix. 
A large cross, made of the wood of S. Aloysius bedstead, hangs there 
stretching to the right and left sides of the cupboard. 

Besides these relics the establishment possesses a tooth of our Saint, 
a portrait of him when six years of age, and a small picture on ivory 
which represents him in his habit and is at all events one of the very 
oldest pictures of S. Aloysius reverentially preserved. 

Among other objects in the College of the noble Virgins which 
attract visitors, we may mention good portraits of S. Aloysius three 
nieces, aged from 6 to 8 years; and three more representing them as 
Nuns. In addition to these there is an excellent portrait of Rodolph, 
S. Aloysius second brother; also one of Donna Bibiana Pernstein, the 
wife of Don Francis, an other brother of the Saint. 

5. (p. 8). The Church of SS. Nazario and Celso was commenced 
in the year 1162, and was originally dedicated to the Prince of the 
Apostles. In the following century it was considerably enlarged and after- 



, Guastala, Bozzolo and Sabbioneta. 

To hon 

4- ( 
of Succe 

, ca 

Revel, a 
Austrians [34 
tegical pu 
of Hesse- 
it. With 
ture of C 
by only 
approach d 
who was s 
mediately j- 
retained by 
Medavi con 
it to be de 
it was _ 
had sheltere 
the glory oi 
the room in 
owing to th 
there remain 
an unimport; 
besides the ! 
and there = 
only things 
part of the f 

1) Ludovic I (Lewis) 

2) Guy. 

3) Ludovic II. 

4) Francis i. 

5) John Francis. 

6) Ludovic III, sur- 
named Turco. 

7) Frederick I. 

8) Francis II. 

9) Frederick II. 
10) Francis III. 
n) Willi 

12) Vincent I. 

13) Francis IV. 

14) Ferdinando I. 

15) Vincent II. 

1 6) Charles I. 

25) Ferrante II 

26) Charles. 

27) Ferrante III. 

28) Ferrante I. 

29) Caesar I. 

30) Ferrante II. 

31) Caesar II. 

32) Ferrante III. 

41) Scipio. 


43 ) John Francis II. 

44) John Francis. 

45) Charles Lewis. 

46) Ludovic. 

47) Lewis Rodomonte. 

48) Vespasian. 

33) Vincent 

34) Ant. Ferdinando. 

35) Joseph Mary. 

36) John Francis I. 

37) Pirro. 

38) Frederick, son of 

39) Charles. [Pirro. 

40) Ferrante. 

PJiotofi/p. Benzi rrcr <f- Cn., mnsirdeln, Switarla9. 

. the Hall of the Ducal Palace, Maniua. The portraits of the numbers 
Sabbioneta branches are from marble busts and oil paintings in San 
ting them as knights, in the Town Hall, Sabbioneta. 

334 Xotes to the first Part. 

wards solemnly consecrated about the year 1772. This stately building 
is quite suitable for a Cathedral. Among the relics in the treasury was 
formerly preserved a leg bone of S. Aloysius, but it was lost when the 
Church was sacrilegiously robbed i in 1794. At the present time may 
still be seen a joint of one of S. Aloysius fingers, formerly belonging 
to the Capuchin Church, Santa Maria della Noce, but afterwards trans 
ferred to this, the parish Church, to make up for the losses of 1794. 
In the Church of SS. Nazario and Celso another treasure is pre 
served. Donna Martha, the humble mother of the humble Aloysius, in 
her last will and testament desired to be buried in the Franciscan Church 
of Santa Maria near Castiglione without any inscription whatever on her 
tomb. Her directions were obeyed, and had the desired result; for in 
the course of time all recollection of the whereabouts of her place of 
burial was lost. But in the year 1765 it happened that Antony Mary 
Nodari, a notary, discovered among his family papers this will, which 
had been drawn up by one of his ancestors. Out of veneration for the 

Autograph of the Marquis Rodolph, brother of S. Aloysius. 

The original letter is in the State Archives at Florence. 
Section, Archivio Mediceo, 2957 : Lettere del Marchese di Castiglione. 

noble lady he instituted enquiries, with the result that after searching for 
some time the burial place was discovered. The coffin was taken out and 
placed in another vault in the same chapel, before the altar; and, in order 
that the memory of the good princess might not again be forgotten by 
the people of Castiglione, the vault was closed with a stone bearing an 
inscription. When the Church was destroyed in 1804, certain persons, 
who particularly venerated S. Aloysius and his pious mother, removed 
the coffin from the vault, and carried it to the Parish Church of SS. 
Nazario and Celso. There it was deposited in a vault immediately in 
front of the Sanctuary on the very spot where, according to tradition, 
the happy molher knelt before the picture of her son, when exposed for 
the first time for veneration on the High Altar. On a stone over the 
vault is the following inscription: 

Marthse. Tanae. Gonzagae. 
Aloysii. Illius. Sancti. 


O. VI. Kal. Majas. MDCV: 

O. H. S. S. 


Notes to the first Part. 335 

In. Templo. Mariano. FF. Franciscalium. 

In. Obscuro. Loco. Primam. Humata. 

Eruta. Inde. Fuere. Et. In. Decoro. Deposita. 



Templo. Illo. Heu. Everso. 
Per. Cultores. Aloysianos. 

Hue. Translata. Sunt. 
XI. Kal. Jun: MDCCCIV. 

(The initials O. H. S. S. signify: Ossa Hie Sita Sunt.) 

Here lie the remains of 

Martha Tana Gonzaga 

Mother of S. Aloysius 

She died 26 th April 1605. 

They were first buried in an obscure place in the Church of Santa Maria 
belonging to the Friars Minor, but were removed thence and deposited 

in a more becoming place. 

At length, in the year 1763 that Church, alas, being in ruins, they were 
transferred hither by clients of S. Aloysius, May 22, 1804. 

6. (p. 8.) S. Aloysius name was really Ludovico or Lodovico 
(Ludovicus), a name which Italians change into Luigi or Aluigi (Aloigi), 
the latter more particularly in the North of Italy. Aloysius himself 
generally signed himself Aluigi, and this mode of writing the, name is 
followed by Cepari in his life of the Saint. However, in a later edition 
he calls him Luigi. The Latin name Aloysius is derived from Luigi. 
Father Piatti, in his work entitled "Vocatio Aloysii Gonzaga ad Socie- 
tatem Jesu", invariably uses this form. Father Francis Sacchini, who 
wrote a life of the Saint in Latin in the year 1612, desired to introduce 
the name Ludovicus; but was blamed by everyone for so doing, because 
the name Aloysius had already come into common use, and was even 
employed in the Apostolic Brief issued by Paul V., in accordance with 
the request of our Saint s brother, Prince Francis Gonzaga, who parti 
cularly desired to establish the use of the name in this form in all 
genealogical tables. From the Latin name Aloysius was formed the 
Italian Aloysio, which is used in addition to Aluigi and Luigi. For 
example, Don Ferrante writes thus on March the 14 th , 1568, to Duke 
William of Mantua : "e poiche io son figliol d Aloisio, e lui se vivera 
si chiamera Aluigi." See Gonzaga Archives, Mantua, fasc. ELV. 2. Peter 
Francis del Turco, S. Aloysius tutor, also writes in the accountbook, 
while will be mentioned below, Aloisio, Aluigi, Luigi. 

It is a remarkable fact that S. Aloysius grandfather subscribes all 
his letters as Luis ; many of them are preserved in the Municipal Archives 
of Castelgoffredo and in the Gonzaga Archives in Mantua. 

The form "Alovisio" also occurs. Thus in the Will made by Luigi 
Gonzaga, surnamed Rodomonte, we read: "Lo Illmo. Signore, il Signer 
Alovisio Gonzaga Marchese, Duca di Trajecto, conte di Fundi et Capi- 
tano Generale della Santita N. S., sano per la divina gratia ... in questo 


Notes to the first Part. 

ha ordinato, disposto etc. Irenaeus Affo, "Vita di Luigi Gonzaga detto 
Rodomonte, Principe de S. R. I., Duca di Trajetto etc." Parma, 1780. 
p. 17. The form Aloise also occurs. For example, Peter Lando, the 
Doge, writes thus on the 27 th of June, to Gabriel Bambo, the Provisore 
of Asula: "Per homo suo a posta m ha fatto esporre il Sig. Aloise 
Marchese di Gonzaga the grandfather of S. Aloysius etc." Com 
pare Guido Sommi Picenardi, "Castelgoffredo e i Gonzaga." Milano, 1864, 
p. 49. In conclusion \ve may observe that the form Alvise also occurs 

In Latin we also have Loysius (Luysius) instead of Aloysius. Thus 
Martino Scaligero endows: "magnificum D. Loysium nomine locationis 
et feudi de civitate et dominio civitatis .... Regii." See Taccoli, "Mem. 
Storiche." Tom. III. p. 66 1. 

7. (p. 8.) Luigi Gonzaga, the grandfather of S. Aloysius, must not 
be confounded with either of his two contemporaries, his relatives, who 
bear the same name. Mistakes may the more easily arise, and indeed have 
arisen, owing to the fact that they were all friends and patrons of men 
of letters, and two of them at least were in reality literary men them 
selves. One of these, Luigi Gonzaga, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 
and Duke of Trajetto &c., on account of his knightly valour was sur- 
named Rodomonte. He was a son of Luigi Gonzaga, Lord of Bozzolo 
(see Genealogical table). He used his pen, as he wielded his sword, 
with considerable skill. His poems were printed by AfFo in the above 
mentioned life. 

The other contemporary of the same name is Luigi Gonzaga, son of 
John Peter, belonging to the branch from Conrad Gonzaga. (See Genea 
logical table). He enjoyed the high esteem of Duke Francis of Mantua, 
who appointed him his Privy Councillor. But his literary work claimed 
his attention more and more, and he left the Court in order to devote 
himself entirely to study. He was one of the best poets of the day. 
See Litta, "Le celebri famiglie d ltalia." Vol. IV. Tav. XIX. 

The third Aluigi Gonzaga was, as already stated, S. Aloysius grand 
father. When the family property was divided between him and his 
brother in 1511, Castiglione delle Stiviere, Castel-Goffredo and Solferino, 
which has become famous for the battle of the 24 th June, 1859, fell to 
his share. In 1515 he was recognized by the Emperor Maximilian as 
rightful lord "del nobile, antico ed avito feudo di Castelgoffredo" with 
which he had been endowed. At first he followed the profession of 
arms, and so in 1516 we find him in the service of the Duke of Urbino 
at the defence of the Citadel of Pesaro. In 1521, during the war against 
the French, he joined Duke Frederick of Mantua, whom the Pope had 
taken into his service. On this occasion the fearless warrior was wounded 
in the leg and one of his eyes was injured, hence he was afterwards 
called the "lame man with a cast in the eye" (il guercio e zoppo). His 
courage was displayed no less conspicuously in the war against Charles V., 
when he was serving with the Venetians, who were attacked by the 
hordes of mercenaries under their leader Freundsberg on the 24 th Nov. 
1526, at Governolo. Again in 1556 he took up arms, this time as par 
tisan of the Emperor; and then laid them aside for ever. He returned 

Notes to the first Part. 33; 

to his beloved Castelgoffredo, which he made his permanent residence. 
Here he completed the fortifications begun by his uncle Lewis, beautified 
the town and built the fine palace with two towers which may still be 
seen. He also evinced his interest in the welfare of his dependents by 
good management, reducing the taxes, and defending their privileges. 

At tournaments he often exhibited his skill in single combat, and 
in rough warfare he was terrible indeed, nor was he at the same time 
very choice in the means he made use of to get an adversary out of the 
way. But Luigi was also at home in the arts and sciences. Men of 
letters received from him a most hospitable reception, and they in their 
turn extolled and admired him. The Doge Peter Lando assures his Pro- 
visore at Asula in an official document of the 27^ June 1545: "amiamo 
grandemente sua Signoria (Luigi) per le sue degne condizioni in ogni tempo 
aver perseguitato li Signori Maggiori di singolar effetto (affetto?)." Charles V. 
wishing to honour him, took up his quarters with him and inspected his 
fortifications. Not being satisfied with them, he gave him a life-rent, and 
when complaints were made about it, he defended him. 

Luigi was very fond of proverbs and caused many of them to be 
put up in his palace, in the churches, on doors and walls; thus on the 
western tower of his palace, where, as we shall see later on, Aloysius 
spent the night, we read these words: 


"The supreme beginning of every work must be derived from God 

On the gable of the Palace we see: 


"My strength is in my people s affection and in the respect of the 

The inscriptions on the outer wall of the Capuchin Church, where 
he had caused a grave to be prepared for himself, shew that he was a 
peculiar man. Thus: 



"As Aloysius is but a name on earth." 





"Trusting in God s mercy, under the protection of the Emperor, the 
Holy Empire, and the Doge of Venice, in the bosom of his well-loved 


"Here the Marquis Aloysius Gonzaga chose to rest when dead, who 
never rested when he was alive." 

Leonard Tortelli relates in a manuscript: "When the solemn funeral 
service in our parish Church, celebrated amidst the tears and lamentations 
of all good people, was over, his heart buried and his body embalmed, 

338 Notes to the first Part. 

the latter was deposited in the Church of Santa Maria in Castelvecchio, 
part of the town of Castelgoffredo, in a vault, which he had caused to 
be prepared for himself on the right hand side of the Church. The 
coffin was of lead, covered with black Russian leather and beautifully 
ornamented with brocade. During his life he had often laid himself 
down here, in order to impress upon his mind this great truth: The 
property of the rich, as well as the glory of heroes and conquerors and 
the majesty of kings - - all end in these terrible words: Hie jacet. 
No monuments of brass or marble statues were raised to his honour and 
glory by his true and grateful servants. Nevertheless in their hearts 
there are as many living monuments as there are men who had the honour 
to approach him and the happiness to know him." Vide "Memorie 
Patrie del Sacerdote D. Carlo Gozzi" preserved in the Municipal Archives 
of Castelgoffredo. 

8. (p. 9.) Casalmaggiore, a town on the left bank of the Po, was 
selected as a parade ground for Don Ferrante s soldiers because the 
Venetians from ancient times had here built and equipped their ships. 
The large oak-trees, which formerly grew in abundance on its banks, 
entirely supplied the wood for the construction of the ships, which by 
means of the river Po could easily be floated down to the Adriatic, 
distant about 120 miles (40 hours) from Casalmaggiore. Moreover the 
country was very suitable for military manoeuvres, and the citizens being 
well off and the country fruitful, there was sure to be accommodation 
for the soldiers. This is why Casalmaggiore was the apple of discord 
betweens the powers, and consequently in the i6* h century almost every 
year it had a new master. "Memorie Politiche di Casalmaggiore dell 
Abate Giovanni Romani." 10 Volumes. Casalmaggiore. 1829. Vol. IV. 

Besides Casalmaggiore as it now appears is no longer the Casal 
maggiore of the 1 6 th century. Owing to the overflow of the Po, by 
which the banks are washed away and the river comes nearer the town, 
it is considerably depopulated and the buildings are much damaged. The 
fine houses, large enough to accommodate 15,000 inhabitants now provide 
for only 4,000. Where the river now flows formerly stood a beautiful 
castle which, at the beginning of the 1 6th century, was undermined and 
destroyed by the flood. The mediaeval tower, which is now used as a 
prison, may have been an outwork and indicates to a certain extent the 
position of the old castle. Of this, there remain but a few blocks of 
sandstone cemented into the wall of the house adjoining S. Roch s Church. 
The top stone bears the following inscription: 

Reliquiae Portae Arcisque veteris 

Quam flumen subruit, 

Aggerum altitudini 

Aquarum incrementis decrementisque 

Et auctubus maximis describendis 

Et indicundis excubiis 

Adversus intumescentem Padum 

Servire jussae 

Decreverunt Decuriones 1773. 

Notes to the first Part. 339 

These remains 

of the Gate and ancient citadel, 
Which had been undermined by the river, 
To maintain the dykes, 

To resist the rise and the fall of the waters, 
To mark their highest level, 
To give warning to the watch 
Of the coming floods of the Po 
The Magistrates resolved 
Should be preserved. 1773. 

9. (p. 10.) Father Jerome Piatti, better known by the name of 
Platus, who will be frequently mentioned in the sequel, was descended 
from a good Milanese family, and entered the Society in 1568 whilst 
still quite young. Later on he was employed by the General, Father 
Acquaviva, as secretary to the French and German Assistancies. He died 
in 1591, when scarcely 44 years of age. He was the author of several 
religious books, which were very favourably received. See De Backer, 
Bibliotheque des ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jesus. Tom. II. p. 2016. 

Autograph of the Marquis Francis Gonzaga, brother of S. Aloysius. 

The original letter is in the possession of Monsignor Philip Nodari, Primicerius of 
the Church of Sant Andrea of Mantua. 

io. (p. ii.) Peter Francis del Turco was the son of Dominic del 
Turco, of Florence, and related to the James del Turco to whose country 
house Don Ferrante resorted. Peter Francis was already a member of 
Don Ferrante s household when Aloysius was bora, and was constantly 
with him until the Saint joined the Society. He then became comptroller 
of the household to the Medici family in his native town, first to Don 
John de Medici, and then to Don Antony de Medici. In this capacity 
he gave evidence concerning his holy pupil in the proceedings instituted 
by the Archbishop of Florence, Alexander Marzi Medici, on the I st of 
April 1609, in furtherance of the Canonization. Cepari, in his life of 
S. Aloysius, mentions him three times in the 3^ chapter, and once in the 
6t h chapter of the first Book. 

The family of Peter Francis del Turco still exists in Florence, and 
is held in high repute as worthy of their noble ancestor who was chosen 
to be the tutor of a Saint. The family name was changed to Roselli 
del Turco, some property having been left to Stephen del Turco and his 
brothers by Francis Roselli, Chamberlain to the Minister of Finance 
who had no children. Francis was the son of Stephen Roselli who had 
married a sister of the aforesaid brothers, See the MS.: "Memorie di 
Chiese e Benefizii Eccl., raccolte da Giovanni di Poggio Baldovinetti" in 

340 Notes to the first Part. 

the State Libraiy at Florence. The following is a list of objects held 
in great honour by the del Turco family as memorials of S. Aloysius: 

1. The above mentioned written evidence of Peter Francis del Turco, 
in the family archives. 

2. Two spurs used by S. Aloysius when riding, with written attest 
ation as to their authenticity. In the possession of Monsignor 
Vincent Roselli del Turco. 

3. An autograph letter of the Saint, dated June ist 1581, the pro 
perty of Signer Peter Francis Roselli del Turco. 

4. The villa Fontanella at Fiesole, where S. Aloysius frequently 
stayed and which now belongs to Signor James Roselli del Turco. 

In the room which S. Aloysius occupied, and which is now con 
verted into a chapel, the following inscription may be read: 

Vetustum. Cubiculum. 

Aloysii. Gonzaga. Pnesentia. 

Ac. Pluries. Iterata. Mora. Jamdiu. Sacrum. 

Decenti. Ara. Ornatum. 

Immaculati. Agni. Litationi. Destinatur. 

Ipso. JErx. Christianse. Laetissimo. Anno. MDCCXXVI 

Quo. Beatum. Hospitem. 
Benedictus XIII. Retulit. Inter. Sanctos. 

"This room, long ago consecrated by the presence of Aloysius Gon 
zaga and by his oft renewed sojournings, being now furnished with a 
fitting altar is destined to be used for the Sacrifice of the Spotless Lamb, 
in the same most happy year of the Lord 1726 in which the blessed 
guest was numbered by Benedict XIII. among the Saints." 

5. An account of expenses incurred by Peter Francis del Turco for 
his pupils in Florence and Mantua. Only the entries relating to 
Florence are in his handwriting, those relating to Mantua are 
continued by a less skilful penman. This remarkable MS. in 
small folio is bound in parchament and on the outside cover are 
the words: ,,Debtors, Creditors, Notices." 

It commences with the following words on the first page: 

f yhs. Ma. MDLXXVII. 

"In the name of Almighty God and our dear Lady the Virgin 
Mary, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, blessed Nazario and Celso, 
blessed Sebastian and all the Saints in heaven, whom we beseech to 
intercede for us with Almighty God that we may ever fulfil His Holy 
Will in health of soul and body. May God grant us this in His infinite 
mercy and goodness. Amen. 


This book bound in parchment with white straps, and with an A 
marked upon it and the title "Debtors, Creditors, Notices", belongs to 
the illustrious Aloysius and Rodolph, sons of the illustrious Don Ferrante 
Gonzaga, Princes and Marquises of Castiglione delle Stiviere and was 
kept by their tutor, Peter Francis del Turco, son of Dominic." 

The notes begin immediately on the reverse of the title-page. The 
pages facing each other bear the same number, one in Arabic, the other 

Notes to the first Part. 341 

in Roman numerals, though not regularly. 63 folios or 126 pages are 
numbered in this way. At the top of the pages we invariably find a 
cross and initials, thus: "f yhs. M a (Jesus, Maria)", and the particular year. 
It seems advisable to explain this because we shall hereafter lay before 
the reader some extracts from this book. 

u. (p. 1 1 .) Dialogorum Lib. II. Prolegom. 

12. (p. 12.) The other three fathers are Ferdinand Paterno (see 
Part I, chap. 8, p. 46), Antony Valentino (see Part I, chap. 14, p. 80), 
Jerome Piatti (see Part II, chap. 5, p. 120), and Father de la Torre, 
who heard his general confession in Florence. (See Part I, chap. 3, p. 20, 
note 1 6.) In the Acts of the Process (Romana, Canonizationis Beati Aloysii 
Gonz. Resp. Postul. ad diet. Relationem . . . Romce 1721. P. Ill , Art. II, 
Cap. II, . 2, pag. 40), there are mentioned as other confessors of Aloy- 
sius, Don Lewis Cattaneo, who heard his confessions when he was quite 
a child at Castiglione, Father Lelius Passionei at Mantua, Father John 
Pescatore, when Master of novices and Father Jerome Ubaldini, who was 
the Saint s confessor at the Roman College in the absence of Father 
Bellarmine in France with Cardinal Gaetano. 

13. (p. 1 6.) Philip Baldinucci, father of the Ven. Father Antony 
Baldinucci S. J., in his biography of Ammanati states the same circum 
stance as still currently reported in his day and describes the Saint s house 
in the Via degli Angeli now Via degli Alfani so exactly that there can 
be no mistake whatever about it. He says: "Not far from this palace 
the palace then belonging to the Giugni family Ammanati built for 
the Guild of cloth-weavers three fine houses which form with the Tira- 
tojo the street corner called "Alia Catena", where the Via della Pergola 
turns off." After stating that the two houses adjoining the Tiratojo were 
completed about the year 1577, but the corner house in the Via della 
Pergola not until 1584, he thus continues: 

In the year 1577 "it happened that Don Ferrante Gonzaga, Prince 
of the Empire, and Marquis of Castiglione in Lombard}-, who was nearly 
related to the Duke of Mantua, came to Tuscany on account of ill-health 
in order to visit the baths of Lucca with his eldest son Aloysius and his 
second son Rodolph. When he had taken the waters, he went to Florence 
to pay a visit to the Grand Duke Francis of Tuscany with whom the 
house of Gonzaga maintained very friendly relations, for he particularly 
wished to obtain for his two sons the favour of the Grand Duke and 
with this object to leave them in Florence. We are told to this day 
how the Grand Duke showed his affection and esteem by requesting the 
Marquis to allow his sons to live in the Palace. But Don Ferrante in 
tended that his sons should not only learn the grand manners of the 
Court, but that they should commence their studies, and he therefore 
preferred to have a private house for them. Still the generous Duke 
would not allow any one but himself to arrange this, and insisted that 
the expense should be defrayed by the State. He therefore hired from 
the Guild of cloth-weavers the first of the above named houses, namely 
the one the corner of which looks towards the Tiratojo. The tenancy 
commenced on the ist of November, 1577, when the eldest son Aloysius, 

Saint Aloysius. 24 

3 4 2 Notes to the first Part. 

who was born on March 9, 1568, was exactly 9 years, 7 months and 
21 days old. This we have read ourselves both in the registers of the 
illustrious Grandduke, and in the Guild books of the cloth-weavers*), and 
who have before us authentic proof that both children commenced their 
occupation of the house on November i, 1577, and that the tenancy 
expired at the end of 2 years and a half, in the month of April, 1580, when 
Alovsius was 12 years, I month and 21 days old. (Cf. note 17 p. 349.) 
But to remove all doubt as to whether the Saint lived in this or in another 
of Ammanati s three houses we must give a still clearer explanation. 
We affirm then that the corner house of the Via della Pergola, at pre 
sent the residence of the author of this work is, as we have said, not 
the house assigned to the two brothers Gonzaga; for it was only, com 
pleted in the year 1584, and let for the first time in November of that 
vear But Aloysius and his brother commenced their occupation in 1577. 
Neither is it the second house from the one adjoining the Tiratojo, for 
on the same day on which the Gonzagas went into their new abode it 
was let under the name of the "middle house" (della casa di mezzo) to 
a French ecclesiastic who was likewise at the Grand ducal Court. ^ There 
remains then only the last house adjoining the Tiratojo." (Cf. Opere 
di Filippo Baldinucci Vol. VII. Notizie de Professori del Disegno, da 
Cimabue in qua" -- Milano 1811 (p. 430432.) 

The front of the house still bears the following inscription: 

1. Beati Aloysii Gonzaga Soc. Jes. simulacrum aspice viator et locum 
ubi steterunt pedes ejus animo venerabundus exosculare. 

2. hie novennis puer tyrocinia posuit sanctitatis et si ilium regia 
aula et Florentina nostra civitas mirata est Virgini ab angelo sa- 
lutatse illibatum virginitatis florem offerentem, 

3. domus hsec quam tantus hospes implevit ipsum eximise religioiiis 
cultu in tarn tenera setate floruisse gloriatur. 

4. neve tarn augustum domus et hujus urbis pereat decus monumen- 
tum hoc positum fuit 

Ser. Cosmo M. D. Etrur. regnante anno salutis MDULX^A. v in. 

1 Look, traveller, upon the image of Blessed Aloysius of the 
Society of Jesus and reverently kiss in spirit the spot where his 

feet have trod. 

2 Here as a boy of nine years he laid the foundation of his sanctity; 
and if the Court and city of Florence marvelled when he conse 
crated to the Virgin saluted by the angel the immaculate flower 
of virginity, 

3 It is the glory of this house, in which such a guest has sojourned, 
that under its roof he attained such exalted piety at so tende: 

4 And to the end that the memory of so great an honour to this 
house and city may not perish this memorial was erected in the 

year of grace 1688 in the reign of the illustrious Grandduke Cosmo. 

*) Decima de S. A. per arruoto I 5 77 n. 168. Carro - Lib. grande dell Arte 
della Lana di Firenze segnato W. dal 1570-1578 a. 243. Lib. grande segnato C. 
di detta Arte dal 15781687 a. 47. 

Notes to the first Part. 343 

This inscription was placed on the house at the request of above 
mentioned Dr. Philip Baldinucci. In the following year (1689) the artist 
Giovambattista, son of the Senator Alamanno Arrighi, painted above it 
a portrait of the Saint. See Diario del Settimanni, Parte I, Vol. XIII, 
anno 1588, p. 8, in the Archivio Centrale di Stato in Florence. How 
ever this fresco must not be mistaken for the present inferior one which 
was executed but a few years ago, the first one having faded. 

A report from the Diario 1. c. anno 1589 p. 184 is worth quoting: 
"(Nel Mese de ottobre) d ordine dei SS" Otto di Balia fu fatta affissare 
una lapide nella parte del rnuro che confina col Tiratojo, nella quale 
scritto doverci portare rispetto e riverenza a detta immagine col non fare 
in quel luogo alcuna sporcizia od altra cosa disonesta." 

Crucifix before which S. Aloysius us 3d to pray whilst in his father s 
mansion at Castiglione. 

In the College of the "Virg r ns of Jesus" at Castigllone. (See P. i, note 4.) 

The Signori Otto di Balia were probably magistrates entrusted with 
the administration of justice, supervision of buildings, and cleanliness of 
the city, duties now devolving upon quaestors, prefects and mayors. 

As the "Tiratojo" has frequently been mentioned the reader may be 
glad to have further details about it. 

Cloth-weaving was in olden times one of the chief industries of the 
city of Florence. All who took part in it formed a kind of Union, like 
our Guilds, whose statutes date from the second half of the 13^ century. 
Now this Guild of cloth-weavers owned a number of buildings in Florence 

.,44 Notes to the first Part. 

which all the members of the guild could use free of charge. Such were 

the "Purghi", "Lavatoj", "Gualchieri" and also the "Tiratoj . 

The Purghi, usually joined to the Lavatoj and Tiratoj, were rooms 
in which the wool was cleaned before being spun and woven. - 
Lavatoi (Laundries) were used whilst the wool was being spun, dyed and 
woven by the weavers. In the Gualchieri (Fulling houses) which were 
situated outside Florence on the Arno e. g. in Rovezzano and in Girone, 
the woollen stuffs were fulled to make them closer and stronger. 

The Tiratoj were roomy buildings, the ground floor and first story 
being constructed of light material, the stories above (about two) o 
wood, towering over all the houses; a kind of tent roof protected 
them from the weather. These Tiiatoj served all the purposes of cloth- 
weaving. Here the wool, after it had been cleaned and washed and the 
skeins of dyed yarn, were laid out to dry. Here the pieces of wooll 
cloth were hung up when dyed a second time. Here the pieces returned 
from the Fullers were laid out upon immense tables, "Biliardi , t< 
folded for the trade. One of these Tiratoj then, of which there were 
four or five in Florence, was in the Via degli Angeli, next to the house 
inhabited by Aloysius. It was taken down by order of the authorise 
on the i 3 th of November, 1787. The site was purchased by the Marche: 
Giugni who had also acquired the adjoining palace built by the Firen- 
zuola family. Among others may also be mentioned the Tiratojo de 
Cavallo nel Ronco, previously Via della Cava and the Tiratojo del 
Uccello at Cestello on the Arno; on the other side of the City the Tira 
tojo di Piazza d Arno now the Exchange, the Tiratojo della Pergola, and 
the Tiratojo de Servi, near S. Michele Visdommi. 

14 fp 1 6.) From the Account Book kept by P. F. del Turco, 
mentioned in note 10, para. 5, we can guess pretty Accurately what kmd 
of wardrobe S. Aloysius possessed at the Florentine Court. We subjoin 
a number of entries which will be welcome to all interested m such 
matters. Here and there we have ventured to bring together things 
appertaining to each other, so as to facilitate perusal, but otherwise we 
have endeavoured to follow the original entries. 

We may observe (i) that the coins used at that time in Florence 
were lire, soldi, and denari. A lira (equal in value to 84 centesimi of 
the present currency, or 8 d. English money) contained 20 soldi I sold 
12 denari. One denaro therefore equalled in value /, of the P resent 

(2) The Libbra Toscana (Tuscan Ib.) contained 12 ounces; oz 
24 denari; I denaro = 24 grains. This Ib. equalled about / 4 English 
Ib. Avoird. 

(V) The Braccio Florentine (Florentine ell) contained 20 soldi; I sold< 
= 12 denari. This ell was equivalent to about 23 English inches. 

M The lira Mantuana was worth 25 of the present centesimi = 
2 / a d It contained 20 soldi; I soldo == 12 denari or piccoli, the 

smallest coins. 

Notes to the first Part. 
1. = lira; si. =. soldo; dn. denaro. 


Page 2. 
On the io th September. 

42 1. 3 si. 8 dn. for 5 ells of black serge (bracchia) to 

make two cloaks with a small hood ....... 

Item 32 1. for 4 ells of black satin for the trimming (fascia) 

of the cloaks, at 8 1. the ell ......... 

Item 44 1. for 2 3 / 4 ells of velvet used for the cloaks, at 

1 6 1. the ell ............... 

Item 3 1. for lV 2 oz. of silk for the cloaks (per cucire le 

Page IL 
Item 5 1. 6 si. 8 dn. for 1 / 3 ell of black velvet further 

required for the cloaks (a opera manco per le cappe) . 
Item 10 1. for the stamping (stampatura) of 30 ells of trim 

ming (fascia) for the cloaks, at 6 si. 8 dn. the ell 
Item 15 si. for 4 ells of silk ribbon for the cloaks 

Page 2. 

Item 8 1 1. 7 si. 6 dn. for lO 1 ^ ells of white satin for making 
two doublets (giubboni) and for lining of breeches, at 
7 1. 15 si. the ell ............. 

Item 25 1. 12 si. for 3 oz. 10 dn. of gold and silver fringe 
(spinetta) for trimming the doublets, at 7 1 / 2 1. the oz. 

Page II. 

On the roth September. 

6 1. for 4 doz. gilt and silver plated buttons for the 

doublets, at I 1. 10 si. the doz ......... 

Item 2 1. for cutting out the white satin for the doublets 

and breeches, (per fare trinciare) ........ 

Item 13 1. 12 si. 6 dn. for i 1 ^ ell of sarcenet as lining 

(di rovescio d ermisino) for two under-jackets (camisole) 

at 9 1. 5 si. the ell ............ 

Item I 1. 10 si. for red silk of 6 threads for the camisoles 

and button holes for the doublets ....... 

Item 4 1. 14 si. for 15 dn. (weight) of gold and silver lace 

for the sword-belts (cinturini) at J l j 2 1. the oz. . . . 
Item 4 1. for swords (ferri) and gilding the same . . . 
Item 6 1. 15 si. for i 1 /^ ell of blue Perpignan for two pair 

of hose for the breeches of Camoza (Camoscio, a kind 

of woollen stuff much used in olden times) .... 
Item 2 1. 4 si. for i 3 / 4 ells of linen cloth as lining for the 

aforesaid Camoza breeches .......... 

Page XIII. 
Item 1 1. losl. paid to the aforesaid tailor (Maestro Domem co), 

I. si. dn. 




346 Notes to the first Part. 

for sewing two pair of green breeches to the Spanish 





Item 5 1. paid to the aforesaid, for some repairs to the 
Spanish hose and green breeches 
Item 3 1. 15 si. paid to the aforesaid for 5 ells of linen 
(della serpe), as lining for the said breeches .... 
Item 1 5 si. for i ell of linen for the pockets of the breeches. 

Page i. 
On the 24 th of the said month (Sept. 1577) 21 1. given 
to the sword-merchant for gilding his (Aloysius ) sword. 
On the same day 
4 1. 10 si. for velvet as lining for the scabbard . 
Item 17 1. 3 si. for i 1 / 8 ell of black velvet for a berretta 
(cap worn by noble youths) at 15 1. 5 si. the ell . . 

Page I. 
Item 2 1. 10 si. for 1 / 2 ell of black sarcenet as lining for 














On the same day 
2 1. 2 si. for 3 ells of tulle (velo retino) to put round 
the berretta 




Item i 1. for two black feathers belonging to the said 



Item 3 1. 6 si. 8 dn. for one white feather . . 
Item ill. 8 si. 8 dn. for 8 / 4 of an ell of black velvet for 
the belt at I ^ 1 ^ si per ell 

1 1 




Item 4 1. for wages for making the aforesaid belt 

Page i. 
On the same day, Sept. i6 th . 
14 1. 14 si. for i oz. 23 dn. of gold fringe for his belt, 


T 1 


Item 6 1. for one pair of gloves embroidered with flowers 
Item 2 1. 13 si. 4 dn. for one pair of white shoes with 





Page III. 
On September 2ot h , 1577. 
20 1. 6 si. 8 dn. for 1% ell of black velvet for making 




Item 2 1. for 4% oz. of fringe and 4 dn. of silk used for 
the cushion 



Item 4 1. 6 si. 8 dn. for 6 Ibs. of wool (cardatura) for 




Item 7 1. 15 si. for 4 tassels of black silk with buttons 


Item i 1. 10 si. for wages for making the said cushion . 



Notes to the first Part. 


si, I dn. 
On September 8th. 

60 1. for 6 ells of black cloth for cloaks (ferraiuoli) , at 

10 1. per ell 60 

Item 65 1. for 6 x / 2 ells of cloth of various hues for house- 
suits, at 10 1. per ell 

The following items will give an insight into the 
Saints early life. 

Page 14. 
On December 26th. 

4 si. for pomade for the young gentlemen 

Item 2 1. 13 si. 4 dn. given to Don John s dwarf ... 2 
Item I 1. 6 si. 8 dn. gratuity to two of Don John s servants I 

Page LXI. 
At Mantua, 1580. 
Item i si. 6 dn. for dried roses and pomegranate-peel to 

make a tooth-essence for Signor Aloysius I I 6 

Page XIV. 

On January 14^, 1578. 

7 si. 4 dn. for oil of mustard to heal the young gentle 
man s chilblains 

On February 6th, ^78. 

I 1. 6 si. 8 dn. paid to the surgeon for treating Signor 
Aloysius i 6 

Item 3 1. 6 si. 8 dn. paid to the physician Master Peter 

Cappelli for treating Signor Aloysius 36 

On the 12 th of the said month. 

1 1 si. for 3 quinternes (quires of 5 sheets) of letter paper 

Page 15. 

On February 23rd. 

3 si. 4 dn. for gum and oil to make a salve to be applied 
to Signor Aloysius stomach 

Item 9 si. for 2 tops with string for the young gentlemen. 9 

Page XV. 
Item 5 si. for 3 tales for the young gentlemen to read . 5 

Page 12. 
On October 31 st . 

14!. to the dancing -master, Fabritius Cavalloni, who 
brought his monthly account for the young gentlemans 

On October 3 I st . 

7 1. for the writing-master, Crescentius Botti, being his 
monthly salary for teaching the young gentlemen to 
write 7 | 


Notes to the first Part. 

Page 10. 
On November 19 th . 

2 1. gratuity to the vergers of the Cathedral, when the 
young gentlemen went up into the dome 

November 22 nd . 

i 1. 8 si. postage for 4 1 / 2 oz. of letters which came from 

Page 33. 

On the 26 th of the said month viz. March, 1579. 

61. 14 si. for the Signer s seal wherewith to seal letters; 
it cost 2 1. 1 6 si. 8 dn. ; for silver, wages for making 
handles, 3 1. 17 si. 4 dn., in all as aforesaid . 

On March 27 th 1579. 

i 1. 10 si. for crystal vessel ordered by Signor Aloysius 
as a present to Don John at the church festa . . . 

Page XVI. 
On October 24*, 1578. 

3 si. 4 dn. for 200 clay marbles 

Entries of this description frequently occur, as these marbles 
(taws) were used for shooting birds with a cross-bow. 


On November 7th, 1579. 

i 1. for a chain for Signor Aloysius dog 

Item 13 si. 4 dn. gratuity given to the baker on All- 

Masks and masquerading costumes are mentioned in the Ac 
count as the boy-saint, whilst at the Court of Mantua, was obliged 
to attend masquerades. 



15. (p. 17.) Gaspar Loarte, a Spaniard of good family, entered the 
Society of Jesus in 1552, and died Oct. 8* 1578. He was Rector of 
the College at Genoa, and later, of that at Messina. He was a man of 
great learning and still greater virtue and received many special favours 
from God. The title of the little book mentioned in the text is "/- 
struzione e awertimenti per meditar i misferii del Rosario delle SS ma Ver- 
gine Madre. In Roma appresso Justine de Rossi" 32 Pag. 146. It was 
translated into Latin (Mainz 1598), German (Mainz 1599), Spanish, and 
English and has been re-edited several times at Venice 1583 in 
Rome 1 6 10, and 1843. 

S. Charles Borromeo thought very highly of this work of Loarte. 
In his Instructions for Confessors, when speaking of the pious books 
which they should recommend to their penitents for their own use and 
that of their families, this little book is one of the few he mentions by 
name. See Instructiones Sancti Caroli Borromcei ad Confessarios, 
Tugii. 1/26. p. //. 

Loarte published several other spiritual works which were very 

Notes to the first Part. 349 

popular: See de Backer, Bibliotheque des ecrivains de la C *- de Jesus, 
Tom. II, p. 770. Loarte. 

16. (p. 20.) S. Aloysius went to Confession and to hear the ser 
mon on all Sundays and Holidays at the Church of St. John the Evan 
gelist, commonly called San Giovannino, on account of its small size. It 
belonged at that time to the Fathers of the Society, and was just oppo 
site to the Medici palace. (See Plan of Old Florence.) 

St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi also at this time, 1573 1580, regula- 
rily attended this little Church, and received the Sacraments there; so 
that these two holy souls may often have met within its walls. The 
name of S. Aloysius Confessor, which is not mentioned by Cepari, was 
Father Francis de la Torre, a Spaniard. 

The Church of San Giovannino was pulled down by Bartholomew 
Ammanati in 1580, and transformed into the present spacious edifice, 
which was finished in 1661 by Alphonsus Parigi. The choir of the 
present Church is probably about the same size as the little Church 
visited by S. Aloysius and S. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi. See Richa. 
Notizie Istoriche delle Chiese Fiorentini divise ml suo Quartiere. Firenze 
T 757> Tom. IV. Quartiere di San Giovannino. Parte Prima, Sez. XII. 
Delia Chiesa di S. Giovannino de Padri Gesuiti. No. n, p. 132. 

Autograph of Lewis Alexander Gonzaga, grandfather of S. Aloysius, 

from an original letter in the Municipal Archives at Goffredo, 
bundle of 1534. (See P. I, note 7. P. II, note 14.) 

17. (p. 22.) Cepari s statement, that Don Ferrante s two sons had 
already gone to Mantua in November, 1579 by no means contradicts 
that of Baldinucci, who says (see note 13) that the house in the Via 
degli Angeli in Florence was let to them up to April i, 1580; for 
their father very likely may have recalled them before the expiration of 
the term. It is certain from the Account book kept by Peter Francis 
del Turco, mentioned in note 10, No. 5, that they actually did leave 
Florence in November, for it expressly states therein they started on the 
roth of November, after having given on the 7th ( p _ XLIII) an alms of 
2 L. to the Frati dell Annunziata for a Mass in honour of the Holy 
Ghost. The entry which refers to their journey runs thus. "On No 
vember ioth 8 L. 13 1. 4 dn. given to the gentlemen, their present to the 
servants of Messer Jacopo del Turco when we went away from Florence " 
(P. 46). 

Baldinucci on the other hand is in error when, following his autho 
rities, the Tithe and Guild books, he says that Aloysius and Rodolph 
were, on the ist November 1579 already in the house in the Via degli 

Notes to the first Part. 

Angeli. For in the same Account book, p. x, we find "Paid, Decem 
ber *th (1577) 2 1. for the removal of articles i. e. bedsteads and the 
rest, to the new house". It appears therefore that until the 5th December 
the children and their tutor lived in another house and moved on that 
day into the one in the Via degli Angeli. In the other books, No 
vember ist is perhaps mentioned as the date on which the tenancy com 


According to this same Account book, S. Aloysms sojourn in Flo 
rence was only twice interrupted and then only for a brief period. The 
first time was in the year 1578, when Don Ferrante was staying at the 
Baths of Lucca. On the 7th o f June, he visited his children in Florence 
and they returned his visit at the Baths. The Account book runs as follows : 

"On June 13^, 33 1. 6 si. 8 dn. for the hire of five horses, bestie, 
when their Highnesses visited his Highness, the Marquis, at the Baths. 
On the same day 8 si. 4 dn. for a certificate of health at Florence (on 
account of the Plague). On the same day 9 1. 2 si. 2 dn. for refreshment 
at Pistoia for six men and five horses per sei bocche e cinque bestie, 
and for their Highnesses breakfast on the hill (in the open air). 

Aloysius left Florence for the second time in 1579 in order to take 
the Baths at the Bagni di Lucca. According to the Account book, the 
two brothers with their tutor must have left Florence at the end ot 
August, for we read (p. xxxv) that on the 2 5 th of that month Peter 
Francis del Turco drew 35 L. from the banker Cappom for the journey 
The same book says they stayed 26 days, that is nearly the whole of 
September at the Baths. In consequence the writing master is only paid 
for the month of October "perche nel mese di Settembre stemmo ai 
bagni" They went to Lucca via Lunate and thence to Lerici. For the 
return jo urne Y a carriage was hired, with seven saddle mules and one 
mule (Account book p. XLI). 

!8 (p 23) It is in a broad sense that Cepari here calls Don 
Prospero S. Aloysius uncle. Even now-a-days the title is sometimes 
given to a more distant relation. See the Geneal. tables. 

19. (p. 24.) According to a letter of Don Ferrante dated 26th o f April, 
i c8o the Marchioness, Donna Martha, at the end of the month had already 
returned to Castiglione from Casale in Monferrato, where she had been 
staying with her husband. The poor mother had now been parted from 
her two eldest children for three years, and had urgently implored her 
husband, and most likely the Duke of Mantua, also to allow them to 
return to her. Hence the Duke had already sent Aloysius and Rodolpn 
to Castiglione on May 3^ for a short visit to the Marchioness. See Ac 
count book p. 62. Finally, between the i8th and 2Qth of June, as the 
Account book shows, and as Cepari rightly says, at the beginning of the 
summer, they left Castiglione. Don Ferrante s letter of the 3^ May, 
ic8o to Councillor Cavriani at Mantua, to whom the letter oi 
2 6th April is also addressed, is remarkable. It begins "By G the im 
patience and the wants of women are intolerable. I say this with re 
ference to the Marchioness who has not yet arrived (in Castiglione) and 
is likely to go out of her mind if the children are not sent 1 

Notes to the first Part. 35 ! 

will write to her that His Highness will in due time satisfy her. But 
Rodolph requires medical treatment and possibly Aloysius also. There 
fore I beg Your Excellency, if as a mother she has used or should use 
unbecoming language, to make my excuses to His Highness the Duke." 
Both letters are in the Gonzaga Archives at Mantua, in the bundle of 
the year 1580. 

20. (p. 26.) No doubt the short Latin extract from the "Summa 
doctrinae christianae" of Blessed Peter Canisius, published for the use of 
the grammar schools and colleges is here meant. It is sometimes called 
"Catechismus Catholicus", sometimes "Catechismus parvus Catholicorum", 
sometimes "Institutiones Christianae pietatis". It seems to have been 
first brought out by John Beller of Antwerp in 1557. Between that 
date and 1585 it passed through more than fifty editions, without count 
ing translations. In Italy also it was printed several times, viz: in 1563 
and 1581 at Venice, in 1578 at Mantua, in 1583 at Turin. After the 
year 1561, many editions have, contained in an appendix, various prayers 
for the use of students, and "Meditationes guotidianae" , Considerations for 
every day in the week, each on one of our Lord s virtues, ending with 
an appropriate prayer. Canisius accompanies the Considerations with a 
brief introduction to mental prayer. Doubtless the Mantua edition was 
the one which S. Aloysius possessed. 

21. (p. 26.) These " Letter e delle Indie" are letters from the Mis 
sionaries of the Society of Jesus in India. They were first printed in 
Spain, and an Italian translation afterwards appeared in Venice. The 
title of the collected Letters is as follows: 

Diversi avisi particolari delle Indie di Portogallo ricevuti dall anno 
I 55 I ft at 1558 dalli Padri della Compagnia di Gesit. 

Dove s intende delli Paesi, delle genti e costumi loro, e la grande 
conversione di molti popoli che hanno ricevuto il lume della santa fede 
e religione Christiana. 

PP- 2 95 (59) In Venezia per Michele Tramezzino, 1565. 

The second part appeared under the title: 

Nuovi avisi delle Indice etc. 1568. pp. 95 (190) etc. 

The third part appeared in 1572. pp. 316 (632). 

Probably these Italian editions were those which S. Aloysius pos 

22. (p. 27.) The Duchess of Lorraine was Christina, daughter of 
King Christian of Denmark. After the death of her first husband, 
Francis Sforza, Duke of Milan, she married Francis of Lorraine by whom 
she had a daughter, Dorothea, who became the wife of Eric II, Duke 
of Brunswick. Tortona was left to the Duchess of Lorraine as Dower 
house by her first husband. 

Consequently she came thither about that time with her daughter 
and son-in-law and was there visited by Donna Martha. 

She had been spoken of as a bride to Henry VIII. and an exqui 
site portrait of the Duchess by Holbein, now the property of the Duke 
of Norfolk, was possibly painted with a view to the match. She is 

352 Notes to the first Part. 

said to have prudently declined on the ground that she had but 

one neck. 

23. (p. 28.) S. Charles Borromeo not only encouraged S. Aloysius 
to receive the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, but actually gave him his 
first Communion in the Church of SS. Nazario and Celso. This circum 
stance was one of the very few with which P. Cepari was not acquainted 
when he published his first edition of the Life of S. Aloysius. It is 
however mentioned with all due emphasis in the second Edition which 

appeared at Piacenza. It is confirmed by the testimony of Clement 

Ghisoni who was servant to the Saint from his seventh year till his en 
trance into the Society. In the Process for his Canonization we find 
the following sworn deposition made by Ghisoni at Castiglione on the 
15* July 1608. "Afterwards Aloysius returned from Mantua at Casti 
glione. At this place the blessed Cardinal Charles Borromeo, when mak 
ing a visitation there, instructed him in the manner of receiving the 
Holy Sacrament of the Altar, and with his own hand gave him his first 
Communion. (See Cod. Coccini, Process. Castill p. 61.} Father Nan- 
nerini in his Vita di S. Luigi Gonzaga, Sienna 1891, gives the date of 
the Saint s first Communion, Friday, July 22 nd . 

24. (p. 38.) Father Prosper Malavolta of Ferrara was subsequently 
Rector of the College of the Society which was established at Mantua 
in the course of the year 1584. Cardinal Hercules Gonzaga left money 
in his will for the foundation of this establishment, which was com 
pleted by the Duke and Duchess of Mantua. 

25. (p. 45.) Cabrera (Felipe II., rey de Espana, Madrid, 1876. 
Tom, II. P. 626, 627) assigns two reasons for the determination of 
the Empress Maria to leave Germany and spend the rest of her life in 
Spain. The first was in order to look after her grandchildren who, 
owing to the death of their mother, Queen Anna (29* October 1580) 
and the growing decrepitude of the King, were entirely left to their 
tutors. The second was that she wished to escape the troubles caused 
by the schism in Germany. 

According to the Documents printed by the "Boletin de la Real 
Academia de la Historia". Tom. XVII. Cuadernos I III. Julio-Sep- 
tiembre, 1890. pp. 254263; Tom. XVIII. Cuadernos I. Enero 1891. 
pp. 6263, and letters in the historical Gonzaga Archives at Mantua 
(Fasc. of the year 1581), the Itinerary of the Empress Maria was as 
follows : 

Departure from Prague. August 1 st 1581. 

Arrival at Vienna August io* h ; departure, August 30* for Gratz, 
where the Empress bade farewell to her brother-in-law, the Arch 
duke Charles. 

Klagenfurt ; 

Innsbruck, where she stayed on the 6^ September and took leave 
of her brother-in-law, Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol. 



Notes to the first Part. 


Padua. She stayed here September 26 th ; letter with this date from 

Donna Martha to the Duchess of Mantua. It was doubtless here 

that S. Aloysius first met the Empress; 
Vicenza. It is clear that S. Aloysius had by this time joined the 

suite of the Empress. See Cod. Cocc. Process. Rom. II. Test. 

P. 28. 
Verona. She stayed here on September 3 o th . On that day Don Ferr ante, 

writing from Verona to the Duke of Mantua, excuses himself for 

Antique binding of the Account Book which Peter Francis del Turco, 

tutor to S. Aloysius, kept whilst at Florence. 

In the possession of the Family of Roselli del Turco at Florence. 

(See P. I, note 10.) 

not having come in person to take leave of him on the plea that 
her Majesty had been so exacting; 


Lodi, whither S. Charles Borromeo betook himself to pay his re 
spects to her Majesty. Thus on this occasion S. Aloysius was 
for the second time in the company of the saintly Archbishop 
of Milan ; 

354 Notes to the first Part. 

Pavia, stayed here October 8 th . Letter thence from Don Ferrante 

to the Duke of Mantua; 
Novi, arrival, October 12 th ; 
Genoa, arrival, October i6 th . Departure delayed till November 8 th 

by persistent stormy weather; 
Savona ; 

Marseilles; where the Empress and her train went to the Cathedral 
to venerate the relics of S. Mary Magdalene. She also made a 
pilgrimage to Sainte Baume, where the cell in which the Saint 
lived is shown. This visit must have still further stimulated the 
ardent devotion of S. Aloysius for S. Mary Magdalene. (See 
P. II, ch. 13, p. 163); 
Collioura. They disembarked in the harbour on December 12 th : from 

thence the journey was by land to 
La Junquera; 
Gerona ; 

Barcelona; arrival January 6 th ; departure, January 22 nd ; 
Montserrat. On this occasion S. Aloysius visited with the Empress 
suite the celebrated miraculous picture in this place. The histo 
rians of Montserrat have always mentioned this visit, but hitherto 
without being able to assign the date and precise occasion; 

Lerida, departure thence on the 31 st January; 

Saragossa, arrival February 5^; departure February io th . Here 
Don Ferrante with his wife and children must have parted from 
the suite on account of an attack of gout, from which he suffered. 
He remained here several weeks, but the precise time cannot 
be determined. However, on the igth May he left Madrid for 
Lisbon in order to resume his attendance .upon the Empress. 
Consequently he and all his family must have been at Madrid on 
the 1 8 th May. This is known from a letter written by S. Aloysius 
to his uncle Don Horace on the 28 th May 1582. (See Appen 
dix n, Letter ix.) 

While the Marquis and Marchioness and the other children remained 
at Saragossa S. Aloysius proceeded on the jo^ 1 February with the Em 
press to Madrid. We gather this fact from the following data. Cepari 
says distinctly (P. I, ch. 8, p. 48) that S. Aloysius went daily with 
the Prince Don Diego to attend upon the Empress while she was in 
Madrid. Further, we know that towards the end of February or begin 
ning of March the Empress left Madrid and went to Lisbon to visit her 
royal brother there. It is equally certain that she did not return to 
Madrid until the 1 1 th February, 1583, consequently nearly three months 
after the death of Don Diego, which occurred on the 2 I th November 
1582. Had S. Aloysius therefore not been in the suite of the Empress 
when she first stayed in that city he could not have visited her daily in the 
company of the Prince of Asturias. Hence we must suppose that on the 
io th February 1582, he parted from his parents at Saragossa and travelled 
on with the Empress. Further, this is sufficiently shown in S. Aloysius 
letter, for he says that "his mother, owing to his father s illness, was ob 
liged to remain in Saragossa and absent herself for a time from the service 

Notes to the first Part. 355 

of the Empress". If he also had remained there he certainly would 
have mentioned the fact. See the remarks of F. F. Fita S. J. in the 
"Boletin" pp. 69, 70. On the 7 th February as the Empress visited 
the celebrated image of the Madonna del Pilar, so called, from the pillar 
on which it stands. It may be assumed that S. Aloysius accompanied 
her on the occasion. 

Towards the beginning of the summer of 1854, Don Ferrante re 
turned with his family to Italy. There are two interesting occurrences 
connected with this journey. On the way from Madrid to Barcelona 
Don Ferrante was the guest of Don Diego Jeronimo de Espes y Men- 
doza at Saragossa. He was amply rewarded for his hospitality. At the 
moment of the arrival of Don Ferrante and his party, the wife of Don 
Diego was near her confinement and in such danger that they were 
about to resort to extreme measures so that at all events the mother s 
life might be saved. S. Aloysius hearing this was filled with com 
passion. Full as he was of confidence in God, he urged them to have the 
same confidence, beseeching them to abstain from the proposed measures 
and promising that God would aid them. Then he immediately returned 
to the Chapel to pray. And almost before he had time to fall on his 
knees the lady was safely delivered. All looked upon this as a mira 
culous answer to prayer, and the Chapel was ever after held in great 
veneration. See Delia Vita di S. Luigi Gonzaga d. C. d. G, Scritta dal 
P. Virgilio Cepari. Roma, 1862. pp. 50, 51. 

The other remarkable occurrence was on the return voyage to Italy. 
When the ship which carried the Marquis of Castiglione and his family 
had set sail from Barcelona and was crossing the Gulf of Lyons, it was 
pursued by the Turks under Asan Agar, bey of Algiers, who did not 
give up the chase till they were within a few miles of Genoa. It was on 
this occasion that S. Aloysius offered himself for martyrdom as P. Cepari 
relates in his 8th Chapter. See "Boletin", loc. cit. p. 263. A cursory 
glance at P. Cepari s narrative might convey the impression that this 
took place on the journey to Spain. But the expression "questo viaggio 
d ltalia in Ispagna" may very well apply to the whole of the journey 
and thus include the homeward as well as the outward voyage. With 
this interpretation all fits in perfectly. The last letter known by us to 
have been written by Don Ferrante from Madrid is dated the I st of April, 
1584; the first after his return to Castiglione bears date July 22 n( l of the 
same year. See Fasc. 1584 in the Gonzaga Archives at Milan. Thus 
the return journey must be placed between April iith and July 22^. 

One thing is clear from the Itinerary of the Empress Maria. Namely 
that a certain letter, supposed to have been written by S. Aloysius 
from Mantua to the Duchess of Guastalla, on the i8* h December 1581, 
is either spurious which is very probable, or it was written at some 
other time or place. For since he landed at Collioura on the 12 th De 
cember, he could not have written a letter from Mantua on the i8 th . 

Cf. Gachard, Lettres de Philippe II. a ses filles (1581-3). Paris. 1882. 

26. (p. 45.) Cepari s assertion that Isabella died in Spain has been 
called into question. A letter from Prince Francis written Oct. 22 n(1 , 
1593 announcing to the Duke of Mantua, the death of his sister, gave 


Notes to the first Part. 

rise to the idea that Isabella had died at Castiglione. The assertion is 
however groundless, for the letter in question; though undoubtedly written 
from Castiglione, does not say that Isabella died there. Moreover it is 
entirely contradicted by the fact that the Register of deaths in Casti 
glione for the year 1593, makes no mention of Isabella s name though it 
is kept with the greatest accuracy. 

Litta Le celebri Famiglie d Italia (Tom. IV Tav. XVII) and others 
after him, mention a second and even a third daughter of Don Ferrante, 
called respectively Louisa and Angela. But no mention is made of them 
in any of the numerous letters which were written by Don Ferrante, 
Donna Martha, and Ferrante s sons Rodolph, Francis and Christian, 
and are now in the Archives at Mantua. If these daughters really 
existed, this omission would be all the more strange because repeated 
mention is made in these letters of all the other children of Ferrante, 
and even of his grandchildren. Further , neither in the Baptismal re 
gister of Castiglione 1568 1586, nor in that of the Parish of San Martin, 
Madrid, where Don Ferrante lived with his family from May 1582 to 
April 1584 are the names of these daughters to be found. Moreover, 
the will of Don Ferrante, an authenticated copy of which has kindly 
been supplied to me by the Custodian of the Gonzaga Archives in 
Mantua, mentions only one daughter Isabella. Finally Clement Ghisoni, 
the second witness in the Process commenced at Castiglione in 1608 to 
enquire into the sanctity of Blessed Aloysius "in specie" expressly states 
that Donna Martha bore several children, viz. seven sons and one 
daughter to the Marquis. Cf. Cod. Coccini, Process. Castell. II. Test, 
p. 59 verso. 

His testimony is all the more weighty as, at the very commencement 
of his deposition, he remarks that "he had been five and thirty years in 
the service of the Gonzaga family at Castiglione". Consequently he must 
have known how many children Don Ferrante had. 

All these reasons taken together seem to make it clear that Don 
Ferrante s supposed daughters Aloysia or Louisa and Angela were not 
in reality his own daughters. Perhaps they were daughters of another 

On the other hand, our supposition that Don Ferrante s youngest 
son Diego or Didacus was born in Spain has lately been confirmed by 
the Baptismal register, mentioned above, belonging to the Parish of San 
Martin, Madrid. In this register which extends from 1571 to 1585 we 
find on p. 355 a statement of which the following is a translation: "On 
the 3 rd of October of the said year (1582) was baptized Diego, son of 
Don Ferrante Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, and of Donna Martha 
Santena della Rovere Diego de Ulleta". 

This Diego de Ulleta had the cure of Souls in the Parish of San 
Martin, belonging to the Benedictines. See the valuable explanations of 
Father Fedele Fita S. J. in the "Boletin" Tom. XVIII. Cuaderno. 
I. Jan. 1891. pp. 70, 71. 

In stating that Aloysius, Rodolph and Isabella, accompanied their 
parents to Spain, Cepari had in his mind those children who held a 
position at the Court, and he did not mean to exclude Don Ferrante s 
youngest sons Francis and Christian. 

Notes to the first Part. 


Saint Aloysius. 

3 5 8 Notes to the first Part. 

27. (p. 46.) In regard to the house in which S. Aloysius lived whilst 
at Madrid, the MS. history of the foundation of the Noviciate of the 
Society in that city at the beginning of the 17* century supplies us 
with the required information, which we here give, not from the history 
itself, but from an extract taken from it in the year 1612, and contained 
in the "Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia", mentioned in 
note 25. Tom. XVI. Cuadern. VI. Junio 1890. 

"In March 1602 Father Lewis Guzman was for the second time 
named Provincial of Toledo. Anxious for the efficient government of 
the Province, he gave the direction and foundation of the Noviciate to 
Father Francis Robledillo, acting on the advice of the Father General 
Acquaviva. Father Robledillo went at once to Madrid, and saw a house 
there which seemed to him very suitable for the Noviciate. It was si 
tuated in the upper part of the town and had previously belonged to 
the Genoese Ambassador. This same house had been for several years 
in the occupation of the Marquis of Castiglione, when at the Court of 
the Empress Maria, Infanta of Spain. The Marquis was accompanied by 
his eldest son, Aloysius Gonzaga, the heir of his house, who subsequently 
resigned his inheritance in favour of his younger brother, entered the 
Society of Jesus and, while studying theology, died in the Roman Col 
lege in the odour of sanctity. He was afterwards beatified. In the No 
viciate at Madrid is shown the room in which Aloysius lived during the 
whole time his father was at Court, sanctifying the house with his 
presence". (See p. 580, where further details are given as to the MS. 
in question.) 

Unfortunately this interesting house no longer exists. It was de 
stroyed about the middle of this century, and on the spot now stands 
the University of Madrid. 

28. (p. 46.) Father Ferdinand Paterno of Catania, in Sicily, was 
born in 1540 and died on February 6th 1604. He entered the Society 
in the year 1559, and made his solemn Profession on the 25* March 
1579. He filled various important offices in the Society, and was twice 
entrusted with an embassy to Philip II. In this way he was often 
compelled to appear at Court, and thus became intimately acquainted with 
Aloysius, who chose him for his confessor. This director of an angelic 
youth was himself an ardent lover of holy purity and on one occasion, 
having been enticed into a dangerous house on the pretext that he was 
required to hear a sick persons confession he was obliged to use vio 
lence to regain his liberty, when he fled precipitately from the spot. 
See the Littera annuce of the Sicilian Province by Janning in the Acta 
Sanctorum. Junii. Tom. IV. pp. 941, 942 

29. (p. 48.) This witness was Father Mutius Vitelleschi. Born of 
.a noble Roman family on the 2nd December 1563, he entered the So 
ciety on the 15 th August 1583, after overcoming many obstacles. Whilst 
completing his Theology at the Roman College, he met Aloysius, who 
was then completing his Philosophical studies and commencing Theology 
(15861587). As he remained the following year with the young Theo 
logians as "Prefect of the higher Academy", he became intimately united 

Notes to the first Part. 359 

in friendship with the Saint (1587-1588). This friendship was parti 
cularly close because Vitelleschi, himself full of fervour, saw that Aloy 
sius was a model of all religious virtues, and the Saint entirely confided 
in his friend. After Vitelleschi had taught philosophy for some years 
he was relieved from the burden of teaching in consequence of his en- 
i health and was employed in the government of the Society. As 
Provincial of the Neapolitan Province, he gave evidence in the Process 
commenced by the Archbishop of Naples with a view to the Beatification 
>f Aloysms, and as the first sworn witness confirmed, amongst other 
things, the particular fact here related. He appeared on two other oc 
casions as witness in the cause; first, on Oct. the 25^ 1607, in Rome 
when he gave evidence concerning the sanctity of Aloysius "in genere" 
and, secondly, on August the 2 4 th ^09, when as "Assistant for Italy" 
he supported the Father General in the Process relating to the sanctity 
of Aloysius "in specie". Father Vitelleschi was elected General of the 
Society at the VII. general Congregation of the Society. It is said that 
two rare qualities were in him wonderfully united, "the love of a 
Father which knew no weakness and the strictness of a judge with 
which no harshness was mingled". Patrignani, Vol. /. Men. di Fcbrajo 
p. 99. He died on the Qth February, 1645 in the eighty second year of 
his age. 

30. (p. 49.) The book of the revered Lewis of Granada which is here 
mentioned is most probably the little work entitled "Compendio de 
la doctrma espiritual Compendium of Spiritual doctrine", which first 
appeared during the author s lifetime at Lisbon, he died in 1588 
and in 1650 at Barcelona in 24; a Latin translation was published in 
1607 at Cologne in 12; and a French translation at Paris in 1584 in 
16. Lewis himself called this little book his grandchild, because it had 
been taken from his earlier works. It contains an extract from the 
"Libro de la oracion y meditacion Book of Prayer and meditation" 
which was brought out in 1547 at Salamanca in 8, in 1578 at Medina 
del Campo in 8, and an Italian translation appeared in 1575 at Venice. 
Following the extract is a treatise on vocal prayer, advice for a useful 
life, and an instruction for Confession and Communion. Quetif et Echard, 
Scrip fores Ordinis Pradicatorum. Tom. II. Lutetian Paris 1721 
pp. 287, 288. 

3 1 - (p. 54-) The miraculous image of Our Blessed Lady before 
which, tradition says, S. Aloysius was called to the Society is painted 
in polychrome. The Mother of God is arrayed in a white robe and blue 
mantle and is carrying the Divine Child on her left arm. The origin of 
this miraculous image is unknown, but it is certain that it was brought 
to Spam from Italy. It was placed in a rich Chapel of the Church of the 
Imperial College of the Society at Madrid, and when Aloysius was in 
Spam, Jan. 1582 to about June 1584, it was already held in veneration. 
As S. Aloysius received his vocation in such a remarkable manner whilst 
praying before this image, it was afterwards known by the name of 
Our Lady of Good Counsel". Among the devotional exercises by which 
the pious clients of Mary honoured Our Lady of Good Counsel may be 

360 Notes to the first Part. 

mentioned a novena for the Feast of the Assumption, in memory of the 
event referred to. See: "Compendio Historico en que se da noticia de 
las milagrosas y devotas imagines de la Reina de cielo y tierra, Maria 
Santissima". Madrid 1740. The Church is now called San Isidro. 

32. (p. 60.) We have to add the following, to the account which 
Cepari gives us of S. Aloysius sojourn in Spain. There are sufficient 
reasons for believing that Aloysius had whilst in Spain received the 
habit of the Knights of S. James. Arguleta, himself a member and 
general custodian of the Archives belonging to this order, gives us some 
information on the subject. (Compare, Continuacion de la Apologia por 
San Domingo. , XXII. Cap. III., n. 2. Madrid 1737.) This need not 
surprise us since, not only Spanish nobles, but many of other coun 
tries, belonged to this Order. We need only mention the names of Oc- 
tavius and Ferdinand Gonzaga, who made their profession in the Central 
House of the Order at Ucles in Spain, Octavius on the 25* April 1575 f 
and Ferdinand in the year 1592. Moreover James de Ballerinis deposed 
on the 2ist July 1608 in the Process introduced at Castiglione on behalf 
of the Canonisation of Aloysius, that the Saint s Father, the Marquis Don 
Ferrante, received Holy Communion every month in the habit of S. James 

con 1 abito di San Giacomo. Cod. Coccini Process. Castell. Test. V,p.?6. 

From this we must conclude that Don Ferrante also belonged to this 
illustrious Order, as no one was allowed to wear the habit unless he were 
a member of the Order. 

Owing to this fact, Arguleta s declaration assumes still greater im 
portance; for surely it was natural that Don Ferrante should induce his 
eldest son to join an Order to which he himself belonged. The weight 
of these proofs is somewhat increased by an oil painting in the Church 
at Ucles representing S. Aloysius in the habit of the knights of S. James. 
Arguleta relates this story concerning the picture (loc. cit. p. 26, 27). 
"One day as I was turning over the leaves of a work entitled Escudo 
Montesiano , I discovered that both S. Francis Borgia and S. Aloysius 
had belonged to the Order of S. James. I had never heard this before 
of S. Aloysius and at once communicated my discovery to one of the 
senior Fathers of the monastery in that place. He replied: "Go to the 
Church- There I will show you a picture in which you will see 
S Aloysius in the same habit as S. Francis Borgia". It certainly was 
there but almost entirely concealed by the capital of a pillar forming a 
portion of the Retablo or reredos, and was scarcely visible from any 
part of the Church". The Prior of Ucles, Don Peter de Cruxtribaldos 
caused this picture to be painted and set up over the High Altar, in 1621, 
the year in which Gregory XV. allowed the Fathers of the Society of 
Jesus by the Brief of the 2nd o f October, to say the Mass of S. Aloy 
sius on the 2i*t June and to honour him in the Breviary. The Saint 
wears in this picture the mantle of the knights of S. James and 
seems to be contemplating our Blessed Lady with the Holy Child ir 
her arms. In this there is an allusion to his vocation to the Society 
received whilst praying before the miraculous image. We are perhaps 
justified then, in adding this to the proofs that Aloysius, when received 
into the Society, was a member of the Order of S. James. On a side 

Notes to the first Part. 361 

altar in the same Church there is also a full length statue of our Saint 
in the habit of the knights of S. James. 

33- (p- 6 1.) When it is here said that Aloysius received from his 
Father the order to visit all the Princes and Dukes of Italy we must 
understand this of the Dukes and Princes of North Italy; according to 
the Processes, the Dukes of Ferrara, Mantua and Savoy, the Grand Duke 
of Tuscany and the Prince of Parma were visited. 

34- (p- 6 1.) The Infanta of Spain was Catherine, the youngest 
daughter of Philip II. who had married the young Duke Charles 

From a plan drawn 

at the end of 
the lyth Centu 

(See P. I, ch. 3 and note 13.) 

Emmanuel in Spain. On the 10* August, 1585, she made her solemn 
entry into Turin. 

35- (p- 65.) This priest is Father Francis Panigarola of the Fran 
ciscan Order, who became Bishop of Asti in 1587, dying in that 
post in 1594. 

36. (p. 66.) This beautiful lake is no longer visible. However, 
under the house there is a subterranean chamber, stript of its mo 
saics, it is true, in which there is a basin containing beautifully clear 
water, flowing out into the garden, where it is utilised for a fountain. 
The room is still to be seen in which Aloysius stormed heaven by 

362 Notes to the first Part. 

ceaseless prayer and severe penances, in the hopes of softening his 
father s heart. Long after, traces of the blood were shown which had 
bespattered the walls, when the Saint used the discipline. The house 
and adjoining property belong to the "Virgins of Jesus". Monsignor 
Sarto, the zealous Bishop of Mantua, has now commenced a work, which 
should have been done long ago. Under his auspices, the room is being 
transformed into a beautiful oratory where the Holy Sacrifice will here 
after be offered. The cappdletta of S. Aloysius in the Roman College 
serves as the model for it. This room and the little Church of the 
"Disciplini" are Sanctuaries greatly venerated in Castiglione. They are 
both in perfect preservation and retain the same appearance at in the 
lifetime of the Saint. 

37. (p. 68.) Scipio Gonzaga is here called in a somewhat remote 
sense a cousin of Don Ferrante. See the Genealogical tables. 

38. (p. 68.) The letter of which the original is in the possession 
of Professor lozzi (see lozzi, p. 17) runs thus: 

"Most reverend Father in Christ, 

Your Reverence can hardly conceive what comfort God has given 
me in these last days. I have constantly placed all my hope and all 
my confidence in the Infinite mercy of His divine Majesty, that the af 
fair relating to the salvation of my soul may after so severe and obsti 
nate a struggle turn out for the best. Therefore your reverence, I 
doubt not, may at last grant me comfort so that I may with truth say: 
"Facta est tranquillitas magna, and there was a great calm", and at my 
departure from the paternal house: "et domus mea hodie salva facta est, 
and my house has this day received salvation." 

Your Reverence will soon give me directions concerning my departure : 
ad sanctam Civitatem to the Holy City, where the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ has his throne, in order that I may have holy intercourse with 
holy men and receive their holy counsels, that I may, encouraged by 
these examples, improve, and by God s grace put on "novum hominem 
the new man". 

My Father will explain all to you. From this hour I place myself 
under obedience to you. In conclusion I kiss your hands. 

Your Reverence s most obedient son in Christ, 

Castiglione, 15* August 1585. Gonzaga - 

To the very reverend Father Claud Acquaviva, General of the 
Society of Jesus at Rome." 

39. (p. 69.) The life of Eleonora of Austria from which Cepari 
quotes is entitled: "Vita della Serenissima Eleonora, Archiduchessa 
d Austria, Duchessa di Mantova, scritto dal P. Antonio Folcario di 
S. Stefano, S. J." Mantova, per Francesco Osanna 1598. Life of the 
most serene Eleonora, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Mantua. 

Notes to the first Part. 363 

Written by Father Antony Folcario di S. Stefano. The passage quoted 
by Cepari is at page 273. 

40. (p. 70.) Aloysius, in his journey through Pavia, could not deny 
himself the pleasure of visiting S. Charles Borromeo s cousin, Count Fre 
derick Borromeo, who so much resembled him in character, and was 
only four years older. He was born on Aug. 15^, 1564. 

Frederick was preparing for the priesthood in the Borromean Col 
lege, and was attracting the attention of all by the shining example of 
his virtues. The joy of both these holy youths on becoming acquainted 
with each other can scarcely be described. When Aloysius was taking 
leave of him, Frederick said in a prophetic spirit to his fellow-student, 
Count Alexander Pietra: "You will see that before long this youth will 
enter some religious Order and end his days in a cell". See Rivola, 
Vita di Federico Borromeo. Milano 1656. Lib. I, c. 22, p. 85. 

41. (p. 72.) The priest here referred to was Father Charles Reggio 
of Palermo, who was born in 1540. He was a famous orator and had 
preached with great success both at Rome and at Cosenza. 

42. (p. 76.) He was born at Padua, 1539. He entered the Society 
of Jesus in the year 1559 simultaneously with his two younger brothers. 
At twenty-five years of age he taught philosophy in the Roman College, 
and then Theology at Padua and Milan. Subsequently he was entrusted 
with the training of his brethren in Religion; and we find him succes 
sively Rector of the Turin College, Minister of the Professed houses in 
Milan and Venice, and Rector of the College at Brescia. It was when superior 
of the Professed house in Milan that Don Ferrante begged him to test 
the vocation of his eldest son, and thus he first became acquainted with 
Aloysius. This acquaintance he renewed when four years later Aloysius 
came to Milan as a young religious. It was moreover a personal matter 
that drew him to Aloysius. He had previously written a small book on 
the mystical life entitled, in the edition of 1611: "Breve Compendio in- 
torno alia perfezione cristiana, dove si vede una pratica mirabile per unir 
1 anima con Dio etc. Brescia presso Francesco Marchetti. A short 
exercise of Christian Perfection, wherein is to be found an admirable 
practice by which the Soul may be united to God etc." This work has 
been lately again translated into German and forms the second treatise 
in the work: "Contribution to mystic theology, edited by Francis An 
thony von Besnard and published at Ausgburg by B. Schmid. F. C. Kremer 
in 1853, 8". When Aloysius was staying at the College in Milan, and 
it became known that God had endowed him with the gift of prayer in 
its highest form, Gagliardi frequently conversed with him to ascertain 
whether the theories advanced in his book were correct. All these cir 
cumstances are related by Cepari in the zy& chapter of the Part II of 
this life. Father Gagliardi died a holy death, as he had lived a holy 
life, on July the 6 th , 1607. 

43. (p. 80.) The house, in which Aloysius made the Spiritual 
Exercises, belonged originally to the Gonzaga Family, and according to 

364 Notes to the first Part. 

Gorzoni, to the father and uncle of the Saint. When the Fathers of 
the Society opened a College at Mantua in the course of the year 1584, 
this house was purchased, and formed the ground floor of the new Col 
lege. Subsequently the house was again honoured by the presence of 
our Saint in 1589 90. He was then a religious and had returned to 
Mantua in order to effect a reconciliation between his brother Rodolph 
and Duke Vincent. According to Gorzoni, Aloysius occupied that part 
of the house which faces the Church of San Giovanni and forms an 
angle with the site of the old Jesuit church (della SS ma Trinita) which 
is now unfortunately in ruins. The room in which Aloysius lived, was, 
even in Gorzoni s time converted into a chapel. Compare the learned MS 
folio in the public library of Mantua. (Sign. H. IV. 10. 993.) "Storia 
del Collegio di Mantova d. C. d. G. dall anno 1584 ad 1711, scritta 
dal P. Giuseppe Gorzoni", two parts in one Vol. Part I. p. 26. 

44. (p. 80.) Father Anthony, who was from Padua, entered the 
Society in 1556, at the age of seventeen, and for twenty six years occu 
pied the position of Rector and Master of Novices in the College and 
Noviciate of the Venetian province at Novellara. He died on the 24^ 
November, 1611. 

45. (p. 84.) Consult the Genealogical tables. Father Piatti has pre 
served in the Vocatio Aloysii, see Boll. T. IV. Junii. p. 902. .27, a frag 
ment of the letter just mentioned. 

"I wished your Paternity to be informed of all this, and that in a 
few days I shall put on the clerical dress, and renounce all my rights 
to my father s possessions, save what may be allowed to be reserved for 
pious purposes. Meanwhile I beg that, while I have considered it neces 
sary to act as I have done, in order to please my father, as you bade 
me to do, and because I thought it would be better for me to be at 
Rome, than at Castiglione, you may be sure that nothing more painful 
could befall me, than being forced to put off my vocation. For this I 
look upon as the greatest favour God could confer upon me. Be sure 
then that I would rather die a thousand times, than give up this my wish 
to serve God". 

46. (p. 85.) Consult the Genealogical tables. 

47. (p. 91.) The draught of the deed by which S. Aloysius re 
signed his Marquisate is in the "Archivio notarile provinciale of Mantua" ; 
it is signed by the Notary, Hannibal Persia, dated 1585 and there is 
an authenticated copy in the Gonzaga archives at Mantua (E. LV. 4). 

- "We here give a translation of this deed which was drawn up in 

"In the name of Christ. Amen, 

In the year 1585, indiction xin, in the reign of the most serene Lord, 
Rodolph II., by the Grace of God, Emperor and King of the Romans, 
on Saturday, November the 2 n< i, at Mantua and at the residence of the 
undermentioned illustrious Marquis, which is situated in the Contfada 
dell Unicorno no.t far from the Monastery of Saint Sebastian, Mantua; 


Genealogical Table 

House of 




of Mantua. 

N.B. The names of the reigning Princes 
are printed in larger type. The names 
of persons with whom St. Aloysius was 
personally acquainted are distinguished 
by an asterisk *. 

Lord of Mantua from Aug. ICth 
Lewis of Bavaria, Nov. llth, 132 
Emperor Charles IV, March 9th, 

Lord of Mantua, from F< 

Lord of Mantua from March 30 
Vicars, b. 1334, f in Oi 

Lord of Mantua from Oct. 5th, \ 

Mantua and Keggio, March 31t, 

who died s. p. in 

Lord of Mantua from March 20t 

of the Empire and permanent In 


2 " Marquis of Mantua ; born Ji 
Hohcnzollern, surnamed the Al 

Francis (-) John Francis 

Susanna ( 4 ) 


horn U44, 

Lord of Bozzolo, Gazzuolo, 

1. 1447; f 1 ec. 19th, 1481 

b. 1449, f 

t Oct. 22nd, H83, Cardinal; 
from Aug. 19th, 1466, 

Sabbioneta etc., b. HIS; 
Aug 28th, 1496, married 

a Franciscan nun, name 
in religion Sister 


Bishop of Mantua. 

Antonia del Balzo, daugh 


ter of Pyirhus, Duke of 





Lord of Gazzuolo, f 3\ine 13 h. 1329; m. Camilla, 

daughter of Hannibal Bentivoglio, prand-daughter 

of John II, Lord of Bologna. 

Lord of Eozzolo; t July lt. ir>40; married Fiances; 
daughter of John Lewis Fieschi, Lord of Genoa. 



Pyrrhus Lewis Gonzaga 


of Gazzuolo; t June 13th, 1555, m . 1540, 

Cardinal 1 527, t 1529. surnamed Rodomonte, born 
Aug. 16 h, 1500, f 1532, m. 


daughter of Francis Cauzzio Boschetti, called 

Isabella Colonna, contem 


porary of Lewis Gonzaga, 


crandfather of S. Aloysius. 


b. Nov. 22nd, 1542, t Jan. llth, 1593, 
appointed Prince of the Holy Roman 
Empire in 1565 by Maximilian II; with 
Cardinal Madrucci at the Diet of Augs 
burg; 1585, Patriarch of Jerusalem, from 
Dec. 2d, 1587, Cardinal. An illustrious 
Prince of the Church, whose literary at 
tainments were so high that Tasso sub 
mitted to him his ..Jerusalem delivered" 
for criticism and correction. 

w Hannibal (Francis) 

b. July 31t. 1546; at the Spanish court 

until 1562, then Provincial of the Friars 

Minor, subsequently General of the order; 

then Bishop of Cefalu in Sicily, finally 

(May 30th, 1593) Bishop ol Mantua. 

t M.-irch llth, 1620. 

2nd Duke 
f Feb. 21t, 1: 

1. Ludovic I (Lewis) Gonzaga. 

1328, Confirmed as such by Benedict XII, 1339; made Imperial Vicar for Mantua by 
9; for Cremona in 1330; for Reggio and Asola in 1331. Confirmed as such by the 
1349, b. 1-268, f Jim. 18h, 1360, Married (third marriage), in 1340, Frances, daughter of 
Count Malaspina. 

2. Guy. 

22nd, 1369. 

br. 21n , 13GO, appointed Imperial Vicar by Charles IV, 1365, f 
Married Beatrice of Lorraine. 


3. Ludovic II. 

i, 1370. In 1366, he and his brother Francis were associated with their father as Imperial 
:tober, 1382: m. 1356, Alda daughter of Obizzo III of Este, Marquis of Ferrara. 


4. Francis I. 

388, being still a minor at the time of his father s death in 1382, Imperial Vicar in 
1383; b. 1366, t March 17th, 1407. Married 1st, Agnes, daughter of Barnabas Viscont , 
1391, 2<Hy in 1393, Margaret, daughter of Pandolph Malntesta of Rimini. 


5. John Francis. 

h, 1407. Created May 7th, H32, by the Emperor Sigismund, Marquis of Mantua. Prince 
iperial Vicar; solemnly installed as Marquis, Sept. 2 Jnd, 1433; b. 1395; f Sept. 23rd, 1444; 
I 1410, Paula, daughter of Pandolph Malatesta, Lord of Brescia. 


6. Ludovic III surnamed Turco. 

me 5tli, 1414; f June llth, 1478; married Nov. 12th, 1433, Barbara, daughter of John of 
chemist, grand son of Frederick VI, Burgrave of Nuremberg, l-t Margrave and Prince 
Elector of Brandenburg. 

7. Frederick I. ( l ; 

3rd Marquis of Mantua, 
born 1443: t July 13th, 1484: 
married 1463. Margaret, daugh 
ter of Albert, Duke of Bavaria, 

Cecily ( 7 ) I 

8. Francis II. 

4th Marquis of Mantua , in 1497 nominated by Maxi 
milian 1st Captain General of the Imperial forces, 
and Oct. 25th, 1506, hy Julius II, ..Captain of the 
Church", b. Aug. 10th, 1466 t March 29th. 1519, 
married Feb. I .th. H90, Isabella d Este, daughter 
of Duke Hercules I of Ferrara. 


1469; t Oct. 4th, 1525 
a Cardinal. 

9. Frederick II. 

5th Marquis and It Duke of Mantua: b. May 17<h, 
1500 , t June 28th ; 1540. Nominated ..Captain General 
of the Church", July lt. 1521, by Leo X. Raised 
to the Dukedom by Charles V, April 8th, 1 530. Married 
Oct. 3rd, 1531, Margaret Paleologa, daughter of 
William Marquis of Montferrat, heiress to the Mar- 
quisate of Montferrat. which Frederick received 
Nov. 29th. 1536. 


b. 1505; f March 2nd, 1563, 

a Cardinal. President of 

the Council of Trent. 


0. Francis III. 

* 11. William (il Gobbo) 

of Mantua; h. March 10th, 1533; 3>-d puke of Mantua, b. April 24th, 1538 

.50. Married ] 549 Katherine of Austria, f Aug. 14th, J587, m. April 26th, 1561, Eleon 
daughter of Ferdinand I. daughter of Ferdinand I, appointed I"t Duke 

Montferrat in 1573. 

* 12. Vincent I. * M 

4th Puke of Mantua and 2nd Puke of Montferrat, b. m . Alphon 
Sept. 21t, 1562. t Feb. 18th, 1612, m. 1581 Margaret Duke of Per 
Farnese, 2<y Eleonora Medici, daughter of Fnncis, 
Grand Duke of Tuscany. 


Febr. 18th, HH. 


t 1440. 


t Jan. 6tl>, 1196. 

John Peter 


Contemporary of Aloysius Gonzaga, Lord of Casti- 

glione. Solferino and Castelgoffredo, grandfather 

of 8. Aloysius, f 1&*9- 



Barbara ( 8 ) 

born It55, t 1^-03; 
married Eberhard, 

Ludovic ( 9 ) 

b. 1458, f Jan. 19th, 1511. 
From Feb. 1468 Protono- 
tary Apostolic, 
1484, Bishop of Mantua. 

Paula ( 10 ) 

Married Leonardo, Count 
of Gorz and Tyrol. 

Ferrante I, 

b. Jan. 28th, 1507, f Nov. 15th, 1557, married 1529, 

Isabella, daughter of Ferrante di Capua, Duke of 

Termoli, Prince of Molfetta and Ariano. 

* John Vincent Francis 

ited Cardinal by Gregory XIII in 1561 Cardinal. 
t Pec. 22" !, 1591. 


b. 1541, f Feb. 21t, 

Cardinal, Jan. 6th, 1563. 

__ Margaret 

onsus II. d Este, 
errara, t Jan. 6th, 


b. 1520, t 1580, natural son of Frede 
rick II by Isabella Rofchetti, wife of 
Francis, called de Gonzaghi de Calvisaro. 

* Fabius 

Ma,iordomo to Vincent 1 , 4th Duke of 

Mantua. From 1601 Governor of the 

Marquisate of Montferrat. 

Notes to the first Part. 


in presence of Philip, son of the late John Mary Fiero of the afore 
mentioned Contrada dell Unicorno, of the worthy and learned jurist 
John [Baptist, son of the late Doctor of Arts and of Medicine, John 
Fabius de Cremaschi, of John, son of the late John Francis de Mar- 
tinacci, otherwise de Todeschini, who are both of this same quarter, and 

A leaf of the Account Book, which Peter Francis del Turco, 

tutor to S. Aloysius, kept whilst at Florence. 

In the possession of the family of Roselli del Turco at Florence. 

(See P. I, note 14.) 

of the noble John Baptist, son of the late Jerome de Thedoldi de Cav- 
riana of the Contrada Ruperi, and Ulysses, son of the late Dominic 
de Careni of the Contrada del Cervo, all citizens and inhabitants of Mantua 
and acquainted with the matter hereinafter mentioned and instructed both 
particularly and generally in it and on this account expressly called on 
and requested to be witnesses; from amongst whom the aforesaid Philip 

366 Notes to the first Part. 

at the prayer of me, the undersigned notary, having personally and bo 
dily touched the Holy Scripture, and sworn and declared on the Holy 
Gospel that those above mentioned as witnesses with him and the illus 
trious gentlemen hereinafter named are well known to him, and that he 
is fully and thoroughly acquainted with each and every one of them and 
has a true knowledge of them. 

Aloysius, eldest son of the most illustrious Signor Ferrante Gonzaga, 
Marquis of Castiglione delle Stivieri, aged eighteen years, here present, 
has long resolved and has fully made up his mind to forsake the ways of 
this world and to consecrate himself to Almighty God in the venerable 
Society of the Jesuits and in due course to make the profession pres 
cribed in this Society. But because he well knows that on the decease 
of his illustrious father the aforesaid Marquisate with the territory and 
possessions pertaining thereto would become his property and belong to 
him as the eldest son, by virtue of the privilege granted on June the ;* h 
1559 by his late Majesty, the Emperor Ferdinand of august memory, as 
well as the letters patent of the said Marquisate given by his Majesty, 
the Emperor Maximilian II., of glorious memory, by both of which it is 
expressly decreed that the aforesaid town of Castiglione with its territory 
and the possessions pertaining to this same Marquisate should for ever 
remain the possession of the descendants of the aforesaid Signor Ferrante 
Gonzaga, the first born to him in lawful wedlock ; and as he has become 
more indifferent to worldly cares and more confirmed in his determin 
ation, he has, with the consent of his father and with the agreement 
of his relations, taken the resolution of transferring his right of primo 
geniture and of succession to the Marquisate of the said town of Casti 
glione, with its territory and the possessions pertaining thereto, to his 
second brother, Signor Rodolph Gonzaga, resigning them entirely and 
making a deed of gift inter vivos of them, as well as of each and every 
other claim which he may have at any future time, both to the aforesaid 
property and to all other possessions of his father or mother and of all 
other rights accruing to him by reason of his primogeniture, in favour of 
his aforesaid brother Rodolph. 

With this intent he has addressed a petition to the most illustrious 
Rodolph II., the reigning Emperor, and has received from his Imperial 
Majesty on October the 29*, 1584, consent, permission, authorisation 
and power to complete and carry through his aforesaid resolution in 
general and in detail without the authorisation or interference of any dele 
gated judge or other person, so that the aforesaid abdication, resignation 
and deed of gift as well as the agreement relating thereto shall be as 
entirely valid and incontrovertible as if all legal proceedings had been 
formally observed and all requirements satisfied, and any defect whether 
of age or from any other reason in the document is rectified. Never 
theless there was added a conditional clause concerning this act of ab 
dication, resignation and deed of gift of Signor Aloysius, the condition 
being that the aforesaid Rodolph should at the beginning of each year 
pay 200 ducats and the sum down of 2000 ducats to Signor Aloysius at 
the absolute discretion of the same illustrious Signor the resigner and 
donor, as will be more fully understood by the Imperial decree which 
for better verification is affixed to the end of this document. 

Notes to the first Part. 


But as he afterwards learnt that, according to the constitutions of the 
above mentioned venerable Society of the Jesuits, all those who seek 
admission into it must, before they can begin to live under obedience in 
any of its houses or colleges, first renounce and distribute all the tem- 


(See P. I, note 25.) 

poral goods which they possess, and must also dispose of all those 
which may come to them, and as the illustrious Signer Aloysius, being 
still a minor and under his father s control, has nothing to divide and 
can only dispose of what he may inherit, and as he is on the other hand 
unwilling that the conditional clause, which could not hold good according 

368 Notes to the first Part. 

to the Jesuit Constitutions, should be any hindrance to him in the attain 
ment of his desire, especially as he knows that they who strive after 
Christian holiness, not with common and ordinary resolve and determin 
ation, but with such earnestness and design as to contemn and abandon 
all earthly riches and perishable goods, do really best consult their own 
interests, he has a firm hope and trust that the most illustrious Emperor 
by reason of his great piety, goodness, and fear of God will not frustrate 
this his intention or anything contained in this present deed, but will 
graciously and bountifully, as he humbly implores his Imperial Majesty, 
confirm it, even without the aforesaid conditional clause which is made 
in favour of the worldly interests of Signer Aloysius and which ought not 
for that reason to be a detriment to his spiritual welfare. He is resolved 
without further delay to carry out his fixed will and intentions. 

Therefore, the same Signer Aloysius, adhering to the aforesaid Im 
perial decree, and in consideration of the authority and full power granted 
to him by which no obstacles raised by reason of want of age or any 
thing else may be permitted to stand in his way, has determined to enter 
the Society of the Jesuits without further delay, to take the habit of the 
Society and in due time to make his profession. And in behalf of both 
himself and his inheritance, and this without any inducement thereto, either 
of violence, fear, craft or deception of any kind, but freely, from his 
own desire and by his own will, and after maturely considering whether 
there may be any better plan, way, law, form, cause or causes by which 
he may or might have effected it more efficaciously, and in the presence 
of and with the consent, permission and agreement of his illustrious father, 
and of Horace Gonzaga, Lord of Solferino, his uncle, and of Prosper 
and Mark Anthony his next of kin, in the Duchy of Mantua, who have 
all expressly approved his determination and design; because he is fully 
conscious what and how much his abdication, resignation and deed of gift 
includes, as he here expressly protests and declares, and as is manifest to 
all present, he having been fully instructed by me, the notary employed 
for the purpose, as to what a deed of gift inter vivos signifies and com 
prises, with the consent and authorisation of his illustrious father, has 
resigned and now resigns to his second brother Signor Rodolph, who is 
here present, his birth-right and right of succession to the Marquisate of 
the said town of Castiglione delle Stiviere, with its territory and all the 
possessions pertaining thereto, and has renounced and does renounce 
them, as well as each and every one of his existing claims and all those 
which may ever at any future time arise, both as to the above named 
possessions and to any maternal or paternal inheritance; further he re 
nounces all rights which may accrue to him either on account of his 
primogeniture or on account of any other natural and lawful claim and 
especially nevertheless that generalities shall not interfere with parti 
cularities, and vice versa. Further he abjures each and every claim which 
he may have in future or may be said to have acquired from the con 
ditional clause inserted in the aforesaid Imperial decree entitling him to 
200 ducats annually and to the sum of 2000 ducats paid down. Of this 
he has made a deed of gift inter vivos, and makes it in such a way that 
it can never be contested, reclaimed or declared invalid by reason of any 
accusation of ingratitude, or of offence, or on any ground allowed by 

Notes to the first Part. 


law to the above mentioned Signor Rodolph, his brother, here present 
who agrees -with the above mentioned consent, permission, authorisation 
and approval that all this property both collectively and in detail shall 
for ever remain in the possession of his most noble family. 

By this deed of resignation the same rioble Signor Aloysius, being 
bound thereto by and in virtue of his oath, has abjured and does abjure 
every objection that may be made against the present document, as not 
being properly drawn up and formally authenticated. He also abjures 
every objection whereby he may be represented to have made this re 
nunciation through any treacherous deceit or that it was brought about 
by violence or by intimidation; also any objection which may be alleged 
on the grounds of any defect or omission of customary formalities; he 
further renounces all claim to any legal or statutory aid whereby he might 
be induced to contest this present deed or to protect or defend himself 
against its effects, he being fully instructed by me, the. undersigned no 
tary, as to the powers, effects and purport of this deed, and possessing 
a full and clear understanding thereof. 

Further, with regard to the permission, faculties and dispensation 
granted, conceded and bestowed by his most Serene Highness the Duke 
of Mantua and Monferrato etc., to the above illustrious Signor Aloysius 
and to me the undersigned notary as to the Decree of 1528, referring to 
the Marquisate, which forbids any oath of asseition or obligation to be 
put in documents, it is rendered null as is shown by the same per 
mission and by an interpretation received from Signor Aloysius Olivi, 
Governor of the Ducal Castle, and secretary of his Highness, by an at 
testation from the most honourable James Anthony Bonacci, notary and 
Chancellor of the Court of Mantua on the 28 th of October last, which 
was there delivered to me in authentic form and will be registered 
at the end of the present document, together with the attestation of 
another ducal order and decree, whereby it is ordained that in similar 
cases credit must be given to the ducal Secretaries, whose attestation is 
expressed by the most honourable Camillus Compagnoni, notary of the 
ducal court of Mantua, which attestation to the same effect has been de 
livered to me. 

And the most illustrious Signor Aloysius at the request of me, the 
undersigned notary, by virtue of my above mentioned faculty, dispen 
sation and permission, touching bodily the Holy Scripture, and with his 
own hand, up on a Roman Missal, which has been delivered by me for 
the occasion and lying open before him, has sworn on the Holy Gospel 
of God, and has declared that all and everything named and contained 
in the present document or noted or included in it has been and still is 
true, and has promised to the aforesaid Rodolph here present, and en 
gages himself (as above) under the obligation and by virtue of this oath 
that he will steadfastly maintain and observe it all, and will in no wise 
and under no pretext act contrary to or contest it either himself or 
through another or others, on any ground or for any cause nor in any 
manner whatsoever, neither with respect to legal claim nor to facts, and 
this obligation extends to all his possessions both present and future ; also 
that he will not seek to be freed or relieved in any way from his oath, 
and even if he should obtain exemption or alleviation he will not avail 

370 Notes to the first Part. 

himself thereof; at the same time he requests me, the undersigned notary 
to draw up a public deed concerning the whole affair as .a perpetual 
remembrance thereof. 

I, Hannibal, son of the late John de Persia, citizen of Mantua, public 
notary by Imperial authorisation, have caused this present document pre 
pared by myself, to be drawn up from my notes in form of a deed by 
the aforenamed Michael Campora, as I was otherwise engaged, he like 
wise being a citizen and public notary of Mantua, and I have subscribed 
to it the customary attestation". 

We should remark that in the Duchy of Mantua in the i6 th cen 
tury all such deeds were signed by the public notary only. 

48. (p. 91.) On the same day that S. Aloysius made the resignation 
of his Marquisate, he wrote the following letter, of which the original 
is in the possession of Professor lozzi: 

"My most honoured Father in Christ, 

To-day I stripped off the garment of the old man and put on the 
raiments of the new. In acquainting your Reverence I assure you that 
I know not how to thank the goodness of God for so great a favour, 
the more so as to-day. He has granted me a new consolation, for 
He has permitted me to follow Him in poverty, my father having deter 
mined no longer to give that which he had promised me and to which 
he has bound himself. However, he will provide the money for my 
journey and for other necessary expenses. 

I pray God that he may order all things for the best, and if also 
He thinks it expedient, that my father may be in a position to fulfil his 
promise in favour of the Society. 

But I have letters written with the intent both from the superiors 
of the College here, and from my mother, which I will hand over to 
your Reverence, that, as I humbly beg you on my knees and with my 
whole heart, out of compassion and for the love of God, you would 
receive me into the harbour of salvation and safety, as speedily as may 
be, for I will strive not to protract the visits which are incumbent on 
me during my journey. 

In conclusion I kiss your hands. 

Your Reverence s most obedient son in Christ 

Mantua, Nov. 2 nd ,585. Alo > sius Gonza g a " 

To his Reverence Father Claud Acquaviva, General of the So 
ciety of Jesus, Rome. 

49. (p. 91.) This conduct of Don Ferrante is to a certain extent 
explained by his pecuniary position which at that time was not at all 
satisfactory. Concerning this he writes on the I st April 1584 to Mar- 
cellus Donati, Secretary to the Duke of Mantua: 

"I assure you that I have spent these three years travelling about 
from house to house, and with the additional expense of my wife and 
children with me. By so doing, I have considered the reputation of 

Notes to the first Part. 371 

those masters rather than my own welfare. Now that I am at home again, 
I find myself reduced to such an extremity, that this expense will produce, 
what happens in a storm. When the sun shines out, the damage is more 
easily seen, than whilst the tempest rages". 

A letter written to the Duke at this time and one to the Bishop 
of Castel Maggiore, dated the 3it August 1584, both preserved in the 
Gonzaga archives at Mantua, alike shew that the liberality of Don Fer- 
rante at that time was restricted. 

"Our Lady of the Pillar" at Saragossa. 
(See P. I, note 25.) 

50. (p. 93.) See Genealogical tables. 

51. (p. 94.) S. Aloysius always retained a particular devotion to 
the "Madonna of Loretto", to whose intercession he owed his life. 
This is proved by the fact that he once had in his possession an image 
of this Madonna which he much venerated. This image, an ancient 
heirloom belonging to the Gonzaga family, is now in the Convent of the 
Franciscans at Vienna. It is in the Cloister not far from the entrance- 
door behind a grating. A document referring to it runs thus: "This 
miraculous image belonged to B. Aloysius Gonzaga, and is a true copy 
of the original at Loretto which was also venerated by him. It then 

372 Notes to the first Part. 

passed to Prince Hannibal Gonzaga and from him to the Princess Isa 
bella Gonzaga; then to her son Philip, Count von Dietrichstein ; subse 
quently to Isabella Ferrarin, and after the death of all these to the 
reverend Franciscan Fathers. This image has touched the sacred tongue 
of S. Antony of Padua and many other holy relics in Rome. Many 
wonderful miracles have already been wrought by it. It is about 200 
years old and has at all times been much revered. Given by me in the 
year 1706. 

Mary Frances von Schardin, Baroness of Innig". 

52. (p. 96.) We here quote the beautiful letter written by Don 
Ferrante to Father General Acquaviva, and handed to him by S. Aloy- 
sius. Cepari, in his Piacenza edition, inserts it in the text: 

"My very reverend and revered Sir, 

Hitherto I have thought it right to delay my consent to my son 
Aloysius entering your holy order, for fear of any inconstancy owing to 
his youth. Now as I seem to be able to assure myself that he is called 
by our Lord, I have not dared to thwart him or to withhold any longer 
my permission, for which he has been ever begging with such urgency. 
But on the contrary, I give him the satisfaction of sending him with his 
mind in deep peace and joy to your Reverence, as to one who will be 
a better father to him than myself. 

I do not ask you for anything especial in his regard. I merely 
assure you that you become possessed of the dearest pledge I possess in 
this world and of the chiefest hope I had of the maintenance of my 
family. It will for the future have great confidence in the prayers of 
this son and of your Reverence, to whose favour I commend him; and 
I beg our Lord to grant you all the happiness you desire. 

Mantua, Nov. 3, 1585. 

Your Reverence s most affectionate servant, 

the Prince Marquis of Castiglione. 

53. (p. 96.) The nephew of S. Pius V. (Ghislieri) was usually 
known by the name of Cardinal Alessandrino, as his native place was 
Bosco, near Alessandria in Piedmont. 

54. (p. 98.) S. Aloysius was the 828^ novice who entered the Roman 
Noviciate of Sant Andrea. Under No. 875 in the book in which the 
articles brought by each novice were entered, we read the following: 

"Don Aloysius Gonzaga arrived on the 25^ of November. He 
brought with him two cloaks of black cloth" probably of the same shape 
as those worn by members of the Society, "two cassocks, a short and a 
long one of the same material, one Zimarra", a sleeveless over-coat for 
indoors, "of black cloth, one coat of coarse cloth of Terni, two doublets, 
one of Mocajale", most likely the same as mocaiardo, a kind of material 
made of hair, "the other of Fustagna", a material rough on one side and 
smooth on the other, "two pair of breeches of Saja" a thin kind of 
cloth "with hose of the same material, one felt hat, one red under-jacket, 
twelve shirts, twelve pair of shoes, twelve pocket-handkerchiefs, nine 

Notes to the first Part. 373 

towels, two pair of linen stockings, two birettas, one trunk, one picture 
representing our Saviour on the Cross". 

The novices had to sign the Inventory of whatever clothing they 
brought with them, so that in the event of their showing no vocation 
during the time of their probation, they might be able to obtain their 
property, and return in peace to their relations. Thus in the above 
mentioned book, all the novices without exception have signed their in- 
ventory. Only the inventory of S. Aloysius is without any signature. The 
Superiors probably did not make him sign, because his vocation appeared 
to be settled beyond all doubt. Whilst the inventory of the other no 
vices was valued at 10 or 12 scudi at the most, the possessions of 
S. Aloysius were worthy 48 scudi (i scudo = about 4 shillings) according 
to the estimate of the Brother who took charge of the clothes. See the 
MS. m Folio, entitled "Ingressus Novitiorttm ab anno 1569 usque ad 
1594 . Tom. II, p. ioo, which is in the archives of the Noviciate. 

The picture of the Crucifixion, which Aloysius brought with him 
to the Society, still exists, and is preserved in the Sacristy of the 
Cappelletta of S. Aloysius in the Roman College. 

Saint Aloysius. 26 

Notes to Part II. 

1. (p. 106.) This Breviary (a "Totum") which S. Aloysius used before 
he entered the Society and brought with him into it, is now in the 
possession of the Ursulines of Vienna. The book was printed by Chris 
topher Plantyn, at Antwerp, in the year 1577. The authenticity of this 
is guaranteed by a document preserved in the same Convent. 

2. (p. 106.) Sti. Bernardi Opera omnia. Colonise Agrippinae. 1620. 
Pag. 359- "In quo cum (qui timore Dei initiatur ad sapientiam) coeperit 
proficere, hoc est pie vivere in Christo, necesse est (teste scriptura) per- 
secutionem patiatur, ut recens gaudium vertatur in mcerorem et dulcedo 
boni vix summis (ut ita dicam) labiis attacta in amaritudinem commutetur." 

3. (p. 1 08.) lozzi ("Lettere di S. Luigi con Annotazioni." Pisa: 
1880) publishes (pag. 24) for the first time the following letter of S. 
Aloysius to his Mother: 

"Most illustrious Lady, 

Most honoured Mother in Christ, 

The peace of Christ be with you. The death of my Father was 
very bitter to me for the moment; I felt very much cast down. But 
after having given way to the grief which nature demanded, I now rightly 
rejoice at the thought that really I have, from to-day, reason to call him 
father, and to thank God that He has taken him to His heavenly bliss; 
as we may hope from His boundless mercy. 

With holy resignation and interior joy let us submit ourselves to 
the Will of His Divine Majesty. 

So I conclude, begging your blessing. 

Rome, April 1586. I am, illustrious Lady, 

Your most obedient son in Christ, 
To the Lady, Aloysius Gonzaga S. J. 

my honoured Mother in Christ, 
the Marchioness of Castiglione." 

Notes to the second Part. 


j / j 

It is possible that Cepari alludes in this place to the preceding letter 
for there are expressions in it similar to those attributed by him to the 
Saint. But supposing this to be the case, an error would exist in regard 
to the month the letter is supposed to have been written, for Don Fer- 
rante was already dead on the ijth o f February. Now Cepari says ex 
pressly that, following the advice of his Superior, Aloysius wrote to his 
mother on the same day on which he received the news of the death 
We must therefore conclude that he did not receive the news till a 
month and a half after the death of his father. But that is more than 
improbable. Therefore either our supposition that Cepari refers to this 
letter must fall to the ground, or the letter cannot have been written so 
late as April. 

4. (p. 109.) This Madonna of Mantua, is the "Madonna delle 
Grazie" which is venerated in the Church of the same name, not far 

Father Mutius Vitelleschi, 

intimate friend of S. Aloysius, afterwards General of the Society. 

From an oil painting in the Gregorian University, Rome. 

(See P. I., note 29.) 

from Mantua. This Sanctuary is situated on the right bank of the lake 
in the district of Curtatone, distant about an hour and a half from Man 
tua. Donesmondi is of opinion, "Dell Istoria Eccles. di Mantova " 
Mantova 1613, Parti, Libr. V., pp. 338, 339, 344, 348. Part II., 
ibr. VIL, anno 1616, pp. 123, 139, that about the year 1000 this 
picture of the Madonna and Child, painted on wood, was already held 
in veneration by boatmen. At any rate in the 14^ century a chapel stood 
on the spot now occupied by a spacious Church. This is evident from 
two Bulls of Boniface IX. in 1389 and 1391. When the plague devast 
ated Italy in 1399, and Mantua suffered severely, Francis Gonzaga, fourth 
Lord of Mantua, made a vow that he would build a large church in 
honour of the Mother of God, if the plague ceased. From that hour it 
abated, and Francis accordingly built, at a cost of 30,000 scudi ( 6000), 
a beautiful church which was handed over to the Friars Minor of the 


Notes to the second Part. 

Strict Observance in the year 1407. Henceforth the devotion to this 
picture became more general. Martin V. visited the Sanctuary and en 
couraged pilgrimages to it by granting an indulgence. Pius II. likewise 
visited it when at Mantua presiding over the large assembly of princes 
held there in 1459 and he also enriched the church with an indulgence. 
Moreover, Charles V. and Philip II. made a pilgrimage to it, as testified 
by their statues and inscriptions. The convent of the Friars Minor was 
abolished in the year 1810. The restoration of the church was begun in 
1825 and completed in 1858. 

5. (p. no.) We have already met with Father Francis Gonzaga 
in chapters IX and X, of Part I, and we shall meet him again later 
on. He was born on the 3 I st July 1546, receiving in baptism the name 
of Hannibal. In 1557 he was sent to Alexander Farnese in Flanders. 
On the death of Charles V., his son Philip left the Low Countries of Spain, 
in order to assume the crown, and Hannibal followed him. However, 
on the 17 th May 1562, he exchanged his court dress for the rough habit 
of S. Francis, and despite the opposition of his family entered the No 
viciate of the Friars Minor of Santa Maria de Jesus at Alcala. There 
he received the name of Francis. In the following year he was professed. 
A solid theologian and a remarkable preacher, after his return to Italy 
he filled several offices with distinction, and in 1572 was raised to the 
dignity of General of his order. At the general chapter in Paris in 1579 
he was chosen General of the whole Franciscan order and in that capacity 
visited all the Houses of the body throughout Europe, everywhere in 
sisting on the rigorous observance of the original rule of S. Francis. On 
the expiration of his term of office as General, in 1587, he returned to 
the convent of San Martino dell Argine, which he and his brother had 
founded. It was intended to appoint him as successor to S. Charles 
Borromeo in the Archiepiscopal see of Milan, but the humble friar 
firmly refused such a post of honour. Nevertheless at the request of the 
Spanish Government he accepted the Bishopric of Cefalu in Sicily where 
he laboured successfully for seven years. Amongst other things he founded 
an ecclesiastical Seminary in accordance with the prescriptions of the 
Council of Trent, the first of this kind in Sicily. "Edifying in his 
life", says Litta, "untiring in his zeal, generous in alms-giving, it was 
the desire of his heart to defend what was right and to abolish abuses." 
The following story is told of the zealous Bishop at this period of 
his life. 

One of the officers had oppressed the people and especially the 
poorer classes by imposing on them exorbitant taxes. The Bishop re 
monstrated strongly with him, and when the officer excused his conduct 
on the score of his devotion to the King, he took hold of him, and 
said: "What do you mean by speaking of your loyalty and devotion to 
the King? We Gonzagas have shed more blood for the King, than 
you have drunk wine." The result was that the officer was dismissed. 

In 1593 Clement VIII. created this indefatigable pastor, Bishop of- 
Pavia, at the very moment the Spanish Court had appointed him to 
Vigevano. However on the pressing representations of Duke William 
of Mantua he was translated to the see of Mantua. 

Notes to the second Part. 377 

His first care was to found, in the year 1594, an ecclesiastical 
seminary, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Council of Trent, 
for 50 students. He then held his first Provincial Synod, according to 
the Tridentine instructions. He founded a large number of religious and 
useful institutions. In 1604, he held a second Provincial Synod, in order 
to promote the Beatification of his young friend and relation, Aloysius 
Gonzaga. In 1610 he published his Synodal decrees, and in 1617 he 
introduced the Roman Rite as reformed bv Paul V. 

Statue of S. Aloysius, 

clothed in the habit of the Knights of the Order of S. James. 
In the Church of Santi lago at Ucles in Spain. (See P. I, note 32.) 

He died on the nth o f March 1620, in the odour of sanctity. His 
body is in a vault under the choir of Mantua Cathedral. It is seated 
on an Episcopal throne and is still entire. See Donesmondi, "Vita dell 
Illmo e Rmo Monsignore F. Francesco Gonzaga, Vescovo di Mantua." 
Venetia loc. cit. per Giacomo Sarzina, 1625. Litta, Tav. XV. 

6. (p. no.) Probably Don Ferrante made his will without the need 
of any reminder from the Father General. 

378 Notes to the second Part. 

7. (p. in.) This was Father Gaspar Alperio, called also Alpio or 
Alpius, the one to whom Aloysius stated that he did comparatively little 
penance, as we shall presently hear. Alperio came from Subiaco. Born 
in the year 1566, he entered the Society in Rome on the 27* h April 1586, 
and was therefore one of S. Aloysius fellow -novices. He taught phi 
losophy and theology for many years in Parma, and died on the cjth May 
1617. The Saint must have discovered in him a kindred spirit as he 
grew so attached to him. We shall meet with him again. 

8. (p. 136.) Father Vincent Bruno of Rimini was born in the 
year 1532, and entered the Society in 1558. He was Rector of the 
Roman College in 1587, when Aloysius was there repeating his philo 
sophical course, and consequently he was it who received his first vows 
the 25* of November in the same year. (See P. II, ch. 12.) Aloysius had 
the greatest confidence in him; for Father Bruno was one of the few to 
whom, after his return from Milan to Rome, he revealed his approaching 
death. (P. II, ch. 24.) Consequently the Father, as "Praefectus sanitatis" 
could give Aloysius in his last sickness the assurance of his speedy dis 
solution; an announcement which caused Aloysius to say the "Te Deum" 
(P. II, ch. 30.) 

The book -by Father Bruno of which we are here speaking bears 
the title: "Meditazioni sopra i principali Misteri della Vita, Passione e 
Risurrezione di Cristo N. S. e sopra le sette Festivita principali della 
b. Vergine e sopra il comune de Santi raccolte da diversi Santi Padri 
e da altri divoti autori." In Vinegia 1585, 1586, 1588. 4 Parts. 

This was first published in Latin in 1597, 1598 at Mainz; and then 
at Cologne in 1598 and 1599. Several French translations appeared in 
the year 1693, and Father Gibbons, S. J. 1614 translated it in English. 
(See De Backer, and Gillow, Bibliographical Dictionary, Vol. II., p. 442. 1885. 

9. (p. 136.) The work -here mentioned by Cepari bears the title 
"De angelorum custodia." Auctore Andrea Victorello Bass. Doct. Theol. 
Ad S. D. N. Paulum V. Pont. Max., Patavii 1605. 4. 155. 

On page 144, the learned writer draws attention to the fact, that 
among the meditations by Fr. Vincenzo Bruno S. J. there is a "pious, 
full, excellent," meditation on the Holy Angels by S. Aloysius. "Read, 
I pray you, that excellent meditation on the Holy Angels, translated by 
Nicolas Serarius, a writer of the Society. You must be made of iron, 
if you are not warmed by the heat of holy fervour, filled with a high 
idea Of the benefit of this angel s guardianship, and do not at all times 
praise God for so great a favour." 

10. (p. 138.) This was again the Father Gaspar Alperio already 
mentioned in note 7. Aloysius writing from Milan, informed him also, 
as we may here remark in advance, that he would soon return to Rome, 
"his only fatherland here on earth" (P. II, ch. 24.) It was likewise 
Alperio to whom he made the promise shortly before his death, to be 
specially mindful of him in heaven "with that perfect love which is only 
possible in heaven. (See P. II, ch. 31.) 

Notes to the second Part. 379 

ii. (p. 139.) The Noviciate of S. Andrea on the Quirinal no longer 
exists. It was, suppressed in 1870 by virtue of the right which is con 
ferred by brute force. We append the following account of it in order 
that the memory of this noble institution, founded by a great Saint, the 
nursery of many holy souls, may at least be preserved. 

The first steps towards the establishment of this Noviciate were taken 
by Monsignor Croce, Bishop of Tivoli, when in compliance with the 
request of his brother Father Lucius Croce S. J. on the 2oth of May 1565, 
he gave to S. Francis Borgia the small parish Church of S. Andrea on 
the Quirinal hill with a small garden. 

The parish Church which took the place of S. Andrea was. first of 
all San Salvatore delle Coronelle and then the Church of SS. Vincenzo 
and Anastasio which is still to this day the parish Church of the Quirinal. 
Since the situation was very healthy, it was used at first as the residence 
of the sick and convalescent Fathers of the Professed House. When 
Dona Joanna de Aragon, Duchess of Tagliacozzo and mother of the 
celebrated Mark Antony Colonna, learned that S. Francis Borgia was 
considering the advisability of removing the Noviciate there, she gave 
him, in the year 1566, a part of the house and garden, which she pos 
sessed in the neighbourhood of S. Andrea, besides six thousand scudi, 
about 1200, in cash. Encouraged by this, the Saint removed some 
of the Novices from the Professed House, to S. Andrea, the same year; 
but only some, because there was not sufficient room for all. S. Francis 
Borgia then began to extend the building, erecting a rather larger church, 
and adding several rooms. The succeeding Rectors Nicholas della Fonte, 
Bartholomew Ricci, John Paul Rissi, and Olivero Pensa, continued the 
work,- and thus between 1592 and 1624 the groundfloor of a fine and 
spacious building was gradually completed. 

The present Church of S. Andrea was built by Prince Pamfili from 
a design by Bernini, and was completed between October io th , 1658 
and November nth, 1670. On that day the body qf S. Stanislaus 
Kostka, was solemnly translated from the old Church and there it still 
remains. A few months after the suppression of the Society, Pope 
Clement XIV. gave the house and garden of S. Andrea, as well as the 
large vineyards of Macao which belonged to the Society, to the Lazarist 
Fathers, who enjoyed the possession of the property till the year 1810, 
when they were banished by the French government. On this occasion 
the Noviciate was converted into barracks for soldiers to the great injury 
of the house. 

When the Society of Jesus was restored on the 17 th of August 1814, 
Pope Pius VII. through Monsignor Belisario, the Avvocato Fiscale of the 
Holy Apostolic Chamber, took the property from the Lazarist Fathers, 
and gave it back to the Society of Jesus, who re-opened the Noviciate 
there, on the I2th of November of the same year. The Church, garden 
and house of San Silvestro on the Quirinal, which had at first been the 
Noviciate house of the Theatines, then the abode of the Paccanaristi, 
were given to the Lazarist Fathers in compensation. 

In 1849, the French troops who had come to Rome to restore 
the temporal power, occupied the largest and best portion of the 
Noviciate, and made it a military hospital. The other portion of the 

380 Notes to the second Part. 

house remained the residence of the novices, as heretofore. When the 
French troops were withdrawn from Rome in 1867, Pius IX. ordered 
that the South American College, Collegiiim P mm Latinum Americanum 
should be removed to S. Andrea, until another house could be found. At the 
same time the novices continued to live there as a separate community. 

When all the religious Orders were suppressed in 1872, in conse 
quence of the Piedmontese, invasion of 1870, the house and garden were 
declared to be State property, and consequently the Jesuit Community 
still existing there were compelled to depart. The building and the 
greater part of the garden were awarded to the king as belonging to the 
Quirinal, and handed over for the use of the lower servants of the Court. 

Nevertheless the South American College was allowed the right of 
inhabiting the greater part of the house for a term not exceeding 7 years, 
i. e. till they could acquire a house of their own. On the expiration of 
this term, the College not having found a suitable building, it was in 
timated that a yearly rental of 960 must be paid to the royal family. 

In order to hasten the evacuation they commenced to pull down the 
south wing on the 30^ September 1886. Hence, on the I st October 1887, 
the Community were compelled to leave the house which had afforded 
them shelter for twenty years and to remove into a new house, which 
was not thoroughly dry. 

Meanwhile the whole Catholic world, had deeply interested itself 
in the preservation of the room in which S. Stanislaus Kotska had 
died. In fact the government had shewn signs of forbearance, and Ca 
tholics were quieted. However, quite unexpectedly this venerated room 
was levelled to the ground on the occasion of the German Emperor s 
visit in August, 1888. 

As mentioned above, the south wing of the Noviciate had been pulled 
down. The middle and inner wings shared the same fate. The south 
portion of the house was rebuilt and the remainder was altered as 
required. A facsimile of the Saint s room was built near the church. 
The rest was handed over as a residence for the officials of the palace! 

ii a. (p. 144.) Just at this time the Blessed Martyr, Charles Spinola, was 
sent to Naples to begin his study of philosophy. Father Bartoli, in his 
work on Japan, remarks that two places were rendered memorable to the 
Venerable Father Charles Spinola on account of two holy men who were 
his friends there, and in whose spirit he had so large a share; Lecce, 
on account of the Ven. Father Bernardine Realini, and Naples, because 
of S. Aloysius. 

The impression which the virtues of our Saint made on the Blessed 
Father Spinola s mind were never obliterated, and he lived to see them 
gain for him veneration and the title of Blessed. 

Father Fabius Ambrose Spinola wrote that the Blessed Charles 
Spinola, in a letter to the Father General Mutius Vitelleschi, congra 
tulated himself on this happy acquaintance and companionship. And in 
another letter which he wrote on the 26 th of February 1621, from the 
famous prison of Omura, in Japan, to the Father Assistant of Portugal, 
Peter Mascarenhas, he said: "I pray your Paternity to be so good as to 
have two Masses of thanksgiving said, one at the altar of our Father 

Notes to the second Part. 381 

S. Ignatius, the other at that of the Blessed Aloysius Gonzaga my former 
companion, that they may obtain for me the fulfilment of my desires " 
The Venerable Father Bernadine Realini, who was by Divine Pro 
vidence always retained at Lecce, wrote on the i6*h of December 1606: 
"I never had the good fortune, I believe because I was not worthy of 
it, either to converse with Brother Aloysius, or even to know him by 
sight. But, from what is reported by those who knew him and who 
had most experience, he gave forth a most sweet odour of solid and 
perfect virtue, under the guise of a well mingled spiritual incense placed 
upon the altar of the Most High, and they spoke of him as an angel 
come down from Heaven. He was very dear to his superiors, and in all 
things, even the smallest, most edifying". 

San lago at Ucles in Spain in the time of S. Aloysius. 

The first Commandery of the Order of S. James. 
From an old lithograph. (See P. I, note 32.) 

One of S. Aloysius companions on the journey to Naples requires 
some notice here. George Elphinstone was the member of a noble 
Scottish family and nephew of William Elphinstone who died a saintly 
death, as a novice of the Society in Naples, on April i8 th , 1584; see 
series of articles by Father Stevenson S. J. in Messenger of the Sacred 
Heart, August 1881 Febr. 1882, republished in Foley s Collectanea 
S. J. Vol. II. App. George studied his philosophy at Dole and in 
J 595 was sent as superintendant of the Scotch College at Louvain. He 
was Rector of the Scotch College at Rome in 16224. 

12. (p. 153.) S. Aloysius Professors in Theology, were Fathers 
Augustine and Benedict Giustiniani, both Genoese; and Father John Azor 

382 Notes to the second Part. 

and Father Gabriel Vazquez, Spaniards. Of these, Vazquez is the most 
celebrated. He was born in 1551 at Belmonte del Tajo and on the 
9 th April 1569 entered the Society of Jesus at Alcala. When only 25, 
he taught Theology at Alcala where for the first time-he and Aloysius 
met. (See P. I, ch. 8, p. 46). Later on he was Professor of Theology 
in the Roman College of the Society of Jesus. He had wonderful success, 
and was one of the most renowned Theologians of his time. Some even 
called him the "Augustine" of Spain. His Commentaries on the "Summa" 
of S. Thomas will secure him a place for ever among the most renowned 
Theologians of the day. He died in 1604 at the age of 55. 

13. (p. 1 88.) See Supplement, Letters of S. Aloysius, 1. xxi. 

14. (p. 194.) We have already seen (P. I, note 7) that the Marquis 
Aloysius Alexander, grandfather of S. Aloysius, had completely fortified 
Castel Goffredo with bastions, towers and moats, and made it his permanent 
residence. The Palace with its two medieval towers, built by Aloysius for 
himself, though it has lost much of its splendour, still presents an im 
posing respect. The interior was adorned with beautiful frescoes. They 
are still to be found in a colonnade on the ground floor opening on the 
garden and are in a fairly good state of preservation, reminding one of the 
style of Giulio Romano. At all events they were designed by his pupils. 
Even the walls of the staircase were ornamented with beautiful paintings. 
Unfortunately on account of a pestilence they were whitewashed. They 
now only wait for a skilful hand to restore them. In the Palace, or 
rather in the tower on the right hand as you enter, is shown the room 
which Aloysius occupied during his visit to his uncle. The Palace is 
not far from the gate by which Aloysius entered on this occasion, and 
so the soldiers, as Cepari relates, were able at his reception to erect 
barricades from the gate to the Palace. 

15. (p. 196.) This Tullius Petrozzari is probably the same who is 
mentioned under the name of Tullius in one of S. Aloysius letters. 
(Suppl. 1. xxiv.) He was Secretary of State to the Duke of Mantua, and 
constantly in correspondence with Don Ferrante, our Saint s father. In 
the archives of the Gonzaga family at Mantua we find several letters from 
Don Ferrante to him. 

1 6. (p. 197.) This is omitted in an early edition of the life. 

17. (p. 199.) As a proof of the earnest way in which Aloysius 
urged his brother Rodolph, we give the following letter, dated the 
6 th February, which he wrote to him on this occasion. This incom 
parable masterpiece, in which the Saint makes use of every means to 
induce his brother to do that which duty and honour required of him, 
is in S. Aloysius own handwriting and is preserved in the Sanvitale 
Archives at Parma. It runs thus: 

"Most illustrious and honoured brother in Christ, 

Pax Christi. 

I thank you for the messenger you sent me. I have fully ex 
plained to him how much according to the judgment and opinion of 

Notes to the second Part. 


competent persons, particularly of him whom you consulted in Milan 
I feel before God you are in conscience bound to do under pain of 
grievous sin. Nothing more remains for me than to beg and most humbly 
entreat you for the love of God and by the bowels of Jesus Christ, and of 
the most Blessed Virgin, not to disappoint my hopes of you which you 
strengthened by a solemn oath to carry out one of the two plans, which I 
explained to the arch-priest. It you will do this greatly shall I rejoice 
to have in you a brother in Christ, whom I have always stood by, and 
whom I have wished to serve, and in future will never cease to serve. 

Picture of Our Lady of Loretto, 

once belonged to S. Aloysius, now in the possession of the Franciscans in Vienna. 
(See P. I, note 51.) 

I have desired, if opportunity offered, to give my life for year 
soul s salvation. It was this desire for your salvation which induced 
me to quit Rome and to pass this winter in Lombardy to the detriment 
of my studies. All this seems as nothing to me if I win to Christ a 
brother so dear to me in Him. Should I however not obtain this from 
you, you must know, that I do not and will not recognize you as a brother 
in the flesh, for I have died to you as such more than four years ago. 
Nay, I should think it a great disgrace if, after renouncing every other 

284 Notes to the second Part. 

thing and myself also for the love of Christ, I should now through 
natural affection be ashamed of Christ and be blind to an offence against 
Him. For Christ himself says: "Go and admonish thy brother. If he 
hears thee then wilt thou have gained thy brother, if he hears thee not, 
let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican." 

Thus I intend I act. However, I will wait twelve days, beginning with 
to-morrow, for your answer. If it be to the effect that you will do your 
bounden duty, to which the example of the Duke of Mantua and of your 
uncle Alphonsus should be sufficient to excite you, to say nothing of any 
kindness I have done you, or of your obligation to God, if I say, you 
act thus, then shall I return consoled to Rome. If however you deal 
otherwise with God and myself, I shall proceed in the affair, in the way 
I signified to the Parish priest. I shall grieve for the sad lot which 
has come upon me, and shall leave it to God to remedy the evil by 
His holy and all-powerful Hand. I beg of you again to be mindful 
of God, Who is always God, whether He waits for our repentance or 
punishes the sins committed either against Him or against those who 
wish to serve Him. Fail not then to do your duty. Fail not, I repeat 
again, fail not. Take notice: I have repeated it three times; for you 
will certainly repent it, if you fail. 

In the mean time I shall pray that God may move your heart and 
give you that happiness and abundance of graces which with all the 
fervour of my soul I desire for you. 

Milan, Febr. 6, 1590. 

Your most affectionate Brother in the Lord, 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

To my honoured Brother in Christ 

the Marquis of Castiglione, 

at Castiglione." 

Only a Saint whose heart is inspired with the purest love of God, 
and the purest and most supernatural fraternal charity could write thus. 
Aloysius might with justice have cited the example of the Duke of 
Mantua, for he in regard to his mariage, acted as his father and father- 
in-law required. As the validity of the marriage which he had contracted 
in the year 1584 with Eleonora, daughter of the Duke of Tuscany was 
doubtful, he caused enquiries to be made, which were painful to him, 
regardless of what might be thought and said. (Litta, Tav. XV.) The 
result was the clearing up of all doubts and suspicions. With still 
greater justice could Aloysius bring forward his uncle Alphonsus. He 
also had a wife inferior to him in birth, but he appeared with her 
everywhere and lived with her most honourably. (See Geneal. tables). 

18. (p. 199.) This was Brother Flavius Saraceni, from Sienna. It 
was to him that Aloysius said those remarkable words about the inten 
tion of his second journey to Castiglione. His former companion Gia- 
como Borlasca was summoned to Venice immediately after his return 
from Castiglione. 

Notes to the second Part. 385 

ig. (p. 200.) Instead of March the 22"<1 the Piacenza edition of the 
Life of S. A. by Cepari gives the 12*. And that must have been the 
day on which S. Aloysius really travelled to Milan, for on March the i;th 
he wrote from Milan a letter to his brother at Castiglione, and on the 
2i st one to the Marchioness; see Suppl., Letters xxvni, xxix. 

20. (p. 204.) See Andrada, Vita del Fr. Augustino Salombrini. 

21. (p. 209.) His name occurs frequently in these pages. 

22. (p. 210.) S. Aloysius begged for and obtained the worst room in 
the house. This dark hole under a wooden staircase was converted into a 
chapel after his death. See Rossi. Clypkits Castitatis. Romse 1653. p. 187. 
It could not be ascertained whether this Chapel still exists. 

23. (p. 211.) See P. II, note 10. 

24. (p. 213.) Father Gregory was uncle to Father Marcellus, the same 
who travelled with Aloysius from Naples to Rome. Gregory had just been 
preaching the Lent at Milan. He records an incident of the journey, 
which Sacchini translated in his Latin life of S. Aloysius. The party 
after leaving Sienna were overtaken by a violent storm, while under 
shelter. They afterwards came to a river, which Sacchini calls the Allia, 
and which Mastrilli does not name, but was evidently the Paglia, which 
flows into the Tiber. The least rain makes a tremendous fresh in it, as 
it passes by Monte Amiata. The torrent whirls down trunks of trees and 
rocks, and the fords become very dangerous. Such was its state on this 
occasion. At the point which they reached the river divides off into 
several branches and it had overflowed its banks. The party was in great 
clanger. - When they got to the principal channel of the river, S. Aloysius 
said to Father Mastrilli: "Father we cannot pass over this." And in fact 
of eighteen who tried to cross, the greater number were drowned. As 
S. Aloysius and his companions were in earnest prayer, he observed a 
young man in the distance, who seemed to be fishing, and who crossed 
without difficulty from one bank to the other. Aloysius exclaimed "There 
is the ford". They all hastened to the place, and found to their surprise 
an easy and safe passage. No one was more astonished than their driver, 
who, often as he had passed that way, had never noticed this place. What 
still more amazed the travellers was, that the young man at the same 
moment disappeared. "From this I gathered", says Mastrilli, who tells 
the story, "that he was no other than the guardian angel of our good 
Aloysius". See Bollandists : loc. cit. p. 1008. B. 

25. (p. 217.) He was the son of Cosmas, the first Grand Duke of 
Tuscany. See Litta, Le cehbri famiglie d Italia. Vol. II. Tav. XIV. 
When Aloysius was a youth at Florence, we again meet with a Don 
John. His name occurs in the letter dated the 17 th August 1575. See 
Suppl. Letters n. 

We also find in the Account book kept by Peter Francis del Turco, 
to which we have already referred, several entries in which a Don John 
is named. For example, on page 10, w r e read that Aloysius paid i lira 
and 10 soldi for a small glass vessel, which he presented to Don John 

3 86 

Notes to the second Part. 

on the occasion of the Church festival. (See Part I, note 14.) A com 
parison between the passages quoted leads as to suppose that they all 
refer to Don John de Medici. This supposition becomes almost a cer 
tainty when we learn from Peter Francis del Turco that John de Me- 
dicis was brought up and educated with Aloysius and Rodolph ("et si 
Aluigi e Rodolfo allevavano col signor Giovanni de Medici".) See 
"Rose e Gigli colti nei Giardini dell Aristocrazia Christiana". Geneva, 
1884, p. 141. 


(p. 221.) The great friend of Cardinal Bellarmine. 

27. (p. 227.) The original of this first letter is in the possession ot 
Professor lozzi , who kindly placed it at my disposal. It is dated the 
5th April 1591. The merely superficial resemblance to "this and other 
letters undoubtedly written by S. Aloysius shows that it was in another hand. 
Cepari expressly says that Aloysius dictated it, but that he was then 
certainly unable to write so long a letter himself. It commences thus: 

"Most illustrious Mother", 
Pax Christi. 

For some time I have had a reason and a favourable apportunity 
of complying with your wish, and of sending you news of myself. I do 
it now, all the more willingly, as a sure occasion is afforded me of giving 
you consolation, and I know not how I could better do it, than by en 
couraging you to consider that Mother, who was unequalled in Her sorrows. 
Look also at Her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who bore all 
our sorrows and miseries, and even death itself, to exhort us to patience 
and to give us eternal life. Your sufferings are many and severe, but 
they cannot last long: for if we receive it all with holy resignation as 
from the Hand of God, we shall soon most certainly reach the land of 
promise. Console yourself with the thought of the ever blessed Virgin, 
and place all your confidence in her. 

I see that I am drawing near the end of my sufferings, and I hope, 
if God pleases, to obtain from Him the greatest grace I can desire, that 
is, to die, as we. hope, in His grace". See lozzi p. 69. 

28. (p. 228.) The oiiginal of this letter is in the Archives of San 
Vitale at Parma. It also appears to have been dictated, not written by 
S. Aloysius, for a day or two later, he was obliged to let others write 
the letters in which he took leave of Father John Baptist Pescatore, 
Father Mutius de Angelis and Father Bartholomeo Recalcati, and owing 
to weakness could only make a cross in place of his signature. Our opinion 
is confirmed by the certificate before u=, dated the 2O th of January 1890, 
given by a famous expert, the Custodian of the above named archives, 
A. Ronchini. 

He compared this letter with others by S. Aloysius, and declares 
that he did not find in it the usual "external indications" to show that 
it was written by him. Though Cepari says in this place, that the Saint 
wrote the letter, this must understand to mean he composed it. Cepari says 
the same of the first letter, viz. that Aloysius had written it, though he 
shortly after remarks that he only dictated it. 

Notes to the second Part. 387 

L. Cibrario, who found this letter in the Archives, considers that it 
was written by S. Aloysius himself, but that it has not hitherto been 
published. He includes it in his work entitled "Lettere inedite di Sand, 
Papi, Principi etc." Torino, 1861, p. 130. Alfred von Reumont also 
gives it in his book bearing the title "Briefe heiliger und gottesfiirchtiger 
Italiener." Freiburg im Breisgau, 1877, p. 273. 

2 9- (p- 233.) A crucifix with the Philippine Indulgence is one to 
which there is attached a Plenary Indulgence at the hour of death on 

Plan of the City of Rome . in the time of Paul V. 

Probably drawn by Maggi and engraved on wood, but first published by Charles 

Losi in the year 1774; only one copy is in existence, and this kept in the Library of 

the Roman College (Vittorio Eramanuele). 

(See P. II, note 34.) 

condition that the name of Jesus be devoutly inrocked. It also has many 
other indulgences. Sixtus V. granted to the Society of Jesus in the 
Philippine islands many spiritual favours to promote the propagation of 
the Faith. One of them was that they could distribute a given number 
of crosses and medals, to which partial and plenary indulgences were 
attached under certain conditions. One of the plenary indulgences was 
the above mentioned for the hour of death. Clement VIII. granted these 
faculties in a Brief dated October i-st, 1596, to the Jesuit missionaries 
labouring in the Eeast Indies. See the MS. Register of the Bulls relating 
to the Society. Tom. Ill, p. 166. Father Anthony Francis Guelfucci 
thus relates the circumstance mentioned in the text: "He (Aloysius) had 

388 Notes to the second Part. 

his eyes fixed on a large crucifix placed before him. With the left 
hand he pressed to his heart another crucifix which had been hung round 
his neck three days before. It was a privilege done, with the Philippine 
indulgences attached to it, the benefit of which Father Sanchez afterwards 
obtained for Spain. And so he sweetly passed away". See Cod. Coccini, 
Process. Castellion. p. 157. 

30. (p. 236.) This was Father John B. Lambertini from Bologna, 
who entered the Society on June 2it i 1585. 

31. (p. 238.) This priest was Anthony Francis Guelfucci from 
Tiferno, who was born in 1564 and entered the Society on Oct. 3O th , 
1580. He belonged at first to the Roman Province, but in 1593 was 
transferred to that of Venice. He died at Bologna on November 7 th , 
1648. He laboured all his life indefatigably as a preacher. 

32. (p. 238.) This passage does not occur in the early edition. 

33. (p. 239.) The day was reckoned Italian from sun-down, 24 oclock. 
It varies therefore during the year. One hour of night is an hour after 
sunset and so on. It is counted from the Ave Maria or Evening Angelus, 
which changes by a fixed rule. The ecclesiastical day begins at the first 

34. (p. 242.) The Annunziata was the first Church attached to 
the Jesuit College in Rome. It was also called the "Nunziata all 
Arco Camigliano" from the arch opposite the Church of S. Marta. 
One side of this arch was in the wall of the Convent referred to, 
and it was in existence down to the year 1625. The nave and south 
aisle of the Annunziata still exist. At the present time the sacred 
vessels are kept in the nave, the entrance to which from the choir of 
the Church of S. Ignatius is opposite the door which leads from the 
Sacristy to the High Altar. The aisle is entered from the hall belong 
ing to the College. The sacred edifice should be called a chapel rather 
than a Church, as the nave is only about 40 feet long, 23 feet broad and 
28 feet high to the apex of the roof. The roof is flat-vaulted rising only 
about 9 feet above the springing, though the width is 23 feet, and on both 
sides it is intersected by small tie-beams. It is in an incomplete state. 
The three chapels which form the south aisle had in all probability 
groined roofs. Those marked c and d on the ground-plan have them 
still, but the one marked e has a domeshaped roof, to which we shall 
refer later on. The entrance to the Church was formerly in the Via di 
Sant Ignazio, as it is now called, but at the present time is is between 
the two windows close to the side-entrance into S. Ignatius Church, to the 
left as one passes out as the chapel of the Annunziata abutted on the new 
Church of S. Ignazio, the apse of the chapel, together with the choir, 
which lay in front of it, were necessarily sacrificed. We say advisedly 
"the choir in front of it" because according to the Acts of the Process, 
a small door led from the Court belonging to the College into the An 
nunziata. Vide Cod. Coccini, Process. Castell. Test. XIX, p. 155. It is, 
however, highly improbable that this door was situated either in the apse 

Notes to the second Part. 


or m the side wall of the still smaller chapel. The apse and choir of 
the chapel having, then, to make way for the new Church of S. Ignazio 
we can understand why it now has a square end, whereas the more 
ancient churches m Rome invariably have semi-circular apses. The fact 
is they aimed at simplicity, the chapel being only temporary. The de 
corations on the wall represent a super-altar and a semi - circular apse 
forming the background to the High Altar. This decorated apse is no 
doubt intended to recall the apse of the former chapel 
^r^V^f s . commenced in 1562 or to speak more correctly, in 
1665.*) Camillas Orsim, Marquis della Guardia, left a legacy of 17000 scudi 
about 3600) wherewith to build a chapel in the vicinity of the La- 
teran. However, his wife, Donna Vittoria della Tolfa, Marchioness della 
Valle, obtained permission from Paul IV., whose niece she was on the 
sister s side, to appropriate this legacy for the foundation of a Convent 
of Poor Clares to be called S. Maria Nunziata. She accordingly pur 
chased several houses in the Piazza di Macuto (see plan of Rome in 
the time of Paul V.), added the house which had belonged to her hus 
band together with her own residence, and the house which her uncle 
Paul IV. had occupied when a Cardinal. These three residences were 
probably situated in what is now the Piazza di Sant Ignazio. This ex 
tensive range of buildings accommodated fifteen nuns and their Superior 
At the same time the foundations of the Church of the Nunziata or An- 
nunziata were laid. 

However, the Marchioness plan was unsuccessful and in 1560 all 
J houses were vacant, At the request of Paul IV. she presented 
them to the Jesuit College, and in May, 1560, the Fathers opened their 
schools there. In the deed of gift, dated April 2 and, Is6Oj it r was stipu 
lated among other things, that the College should at its own expense 
complete the Annunziata. See "Orig. del Coll. Romano" etc. Ann. [560 
The Church was commenced in 1562, Cardinal Otho Truchsesz of 
Augsburg having already laid the foundation-stone. It was completed 
m 1567. It had three small aisles with five altars. The decoration of 
the apse was commenced by Taddeo Zuccaro, and on his death, com 
pleted by his brother Federigo Zuccaro. The splendid frescoes, towards 
the expense of which the Marchioness also contributed, represented the 
Annunciation of the B. Virgin. Grouped round the principal scene were 
the Prophets who had foretold the mystery of the Incarnation. Each 
held a parchment roll. At the top of the picture were depicted God 
the Father and God the Holy Ghost, surrounded by angels. See "Ori* 
del Coll. Romano" etc. Ann. 1567. 

The large hearted Cardinal Lewis Ludovisi emulated the zeal of his 
uncle, Gregory XV. This Pope had in the year 1622, added the Founder 

/- n *) ^ he followin S particulars are taken from a 4 to MS. entitled "Online del 
Collegio Romano e suoi progress! dal 1551-1743". It contains in chronological order 
the history of the College, with the dates in the margin. The pages are not num 
bered. It was written in the i8th century by the person whose handwriting appears 
m some earlier documents, as expressly stated by the writer. The first 139 pages 
contam the history of the College; 10 pages are missing and then on the four list 
we nnd the names of distinguished professors down to the year 1743, and of some of 
these became men of mark, S. Aloysius taking the first place among 

Saint Aloysius. 


Notes to the second Part. 

of the Society of Jesus to the calendar of the Saints. His nephew deter 
mined to build a church in his honour really worthy of him. It was 
commenced in the year 1626. Not only the Apse and choir, but also 
the north Aisle of the little church of the Annunziata as well as its 
chapels and the Sacristy abutting on that Aisle had to make way for the 
new building, while the nave and the South Aisle remained undisturbed, 


Ground-plan of the original Church of the Annunziata and of the Church 
of S. Ignatius where S. Aloysius sacred remains now repose. 

(See P. II, ch. 32 and note 34. Appendix, ch. 3 and 5.) 

and to a certain extent were incorporated into the new church. See 
"Origine del Coll. Romano" etc. Ann. 1566. By the year 1650, it was so 
far advanced that the nave and chapels could be used for Divine Worship. 
It was not completed till the year 1685. About a hundred years later 
in 1775, at the time of the suppression of the Society, the marbles 

Notes to the second Part. ?g! 

which had been collected for the internal decoration of this church, were 
carried off to ornament Sant Antonio de Portoghesi and other churches. 

Although the little churCh of the Annunziata could not be compared 
with the present monumental church of Sant Ignazio either as regards 
size or design, yet in those portions which have been retained, there still 
remains a venerable Sanctuary which certainly merit to be preserved. 

S. Aloysius visited this church several times a day for many years 
consecutively, as stated in the Acts. Vide Cod. Coccini. Process. Castell. 
Test. Pag. 114, verso. 

Its walls were the silent witnesses of the ardent prayers which he 
poured forth before God, and its floor received the tears which streamed 
from his eyes whenever he assisted at the Holy Sacrifice. As this 
church during his lifetime had been his favourite spot, so after death it 
was destined to become his resting place for a considerable time, as 
down to August 5th ^49 his sacred remains reposed there. 

On the 1 5th of July, 1620 when they were borne in solemn pro 
cession from the chapel of the Madonna into the newly erected chapel 
of S. Aloysius, S. John Berchmans, a second Aloysius, carried a lighted 
torch. Thus the church was consecrated afresh, for this holy youth had 
sanctified himself therein, and after death found a resting place for a 
considerable time within its walls. 

Should we not add that in this little church the foundation was 
laid of the glorious work of the Sodality or Congregations of Mary? 

In view of these facts it is desirable that the Sanctuary should re 
main no longer in obscurity. We regard it as a good augury that the 
precious treasure belonging to this church, the picture of the Annun 
ziata, which S. Aloysius so greatly revered, is now rescued from oblivion 
by Father Caesar de Angelis, S. J. and has been placed at the entrance 
of the Cappelletta. It is thought that the painting is a portion of the 
celebrated fresco of Zuccaro, which has already been referred to. 

To make the matter clearer, we have given a ground plan of the 
Churches of the Annunziata and of S. Ignatius, with the necessary ex 


A. Ground-plan of the little Church of the Annunziata. The aisle 
to the left, indicated by dotted lines, still exists, but is separated from 
the nave by a wall. In 1870 it was seized by the Piedmontese, together 
with the Roman College. The aisle to the left no longer exists. In its 
place is a portion of the right aisle of the Church of S. Ignatius, in the 
middle of which is a semi-circular niche with the monument of Gregory XV. 
The apse and choir, indicated by a double dotted line were removed to 
make way for the apse of the Church of St. Ignatius. On the site of 
the nave of the Church of the Annunziata is the Chapel of the Prima 
Primaria, i. e. the Chapel of the Mother Congregation of the Sodalities 
of the Children of Mary, all of which can trace their origin to the 
Church of the Annunziata. 

a. Former entrance to the Church of the Annunziata. 

b. Chapel of the Crucifix; first tomb of S. Aloysius; here his remains 
reposed until June 8 th , 1602. 

39 2 

Notes to the second Part. 

c. Probably the Chapel of S. Sebastian, where the body of S. Aloy- 
sius reposed from July I st 1602 to May 13 th , 1605. But it is 
quite as probable that the chapel of S. Sebastian was in the north 
aisle opposite the chapel marked e. 

d. Chapel of the Madonna, where the remains of the Saint reposed* 
from May 13*, 1605, to June 15^, 1620. f r****: 

e. The chapel in which S. Aloysius remains reposed from June 15 th , 
1620, to August 5 th , 1649. It had a marble altar, the gift of Tiberius 

Picture of the Annunziata from the Church of the same name, 

before which S. Aloysius prayed for two years. 

(See P. II, note 34.) 

Lancellotti, now in the Sacristy of S. Ignacio. The chapel has a fine 
cupola, divided into four panels, rising from a well proportioned 

* We are obliged to have recourse to well grounded conjectures as other 
means of knowledge fail us, in determining the site of the Chapel of the Madonna. 
The printed acts of the Process : (Romano. Canonisationis B. Aloysii Gonzagte S. J. 
Relatio pro veritate et animadversiones R. P. D. Promotoris jidei. Respons. Postula- 
toris Causes . . . Summarium. Romae 1721. Sum. Tit. II, i, P. 35, 36), tell us that 
when the remains of S. Aloysius were removed from the Chapel of S. Sebastian to 
the Chapel of the Madonna they were placed in the wall opposite the window, open 
ing upon the street nel muro che e all incontro della fenestra della strada; but as 
both the aisles of the Church have a window looking on the street, both the Chapels 
nearest the street have walls opposite the window, (see the plan of Rome in the time 
of Paul V.). It cannot however be the Chapel to the left as you enter the Church, 
for this is the Chapel of the Crucifix (cf. P. II, ch. 32, towards the end). Therefore 
the Chapel of the Madonna must be the Chapel immediately to the right on entering 
the Church, especially as in Italy at that time an altar of the B. Virgin or a niche for 
her statue was commonly placed just at the entrance to the Church ; for instance at 
Rome in the Church of S. Augustine, and at Florence in the Annunziata. 

Notes to the second Part. 


cornice. The four pendentives are skilfully treated. In the panels of 
the cupola, scenes from the life of S. Aloysius are painted in relief of 
a brownish tint. In the scene on the right as you enter the chapel 
from the church, the Saint is kneeling on the floor in his secular 
dress before a picture of the Madonna. His shoulders are bared and 
he is about to use the discipline. In the next scene over the altar 
the Saint is in the cassock of a scholastic of the Society, kneeling 
in a church. This scene is doubtless to remind us that Aloysius 
once offered fervent prayers in this very church. In the scene to the 
left the Saint is in the Hospital of "Santa Maria della Consolazione". 
He is kneeling on the floor, washing a sick man s feet. The last 
scene depicts S. Aloysius on his death-bed. A number of religious 
are kneeling round his bed. In the pendentives there are per 
sonifications of the Saint s principal virtues, his zeal for prayer, 
mortification &c. 

f. Little door, opening into the church from the court-yard attached 

to the schools. 
B. Ground-plan of the Church of S. Ignatius. 

a. Chapel in which the body of the Saint reposed from August 5*, 
1649, to December 20*, 1699. It lay beneath the altar-slab. 

Where the cupola now is, was the infirmary of the old Ro 
man College where S. Aloysius died.* See "Origine del Collegio 
Romano". An. 1649. 

/9. Present Tomb of S. Aloysius. His remains have reposed beneath 
the altar-slab since December 2oth 1699. This magnificent altar is 
likewise the gift of the Lancelotti family. See "Origine del Coll. 
Rom." An. 1699. 

<y. Altar of the Annunziata. Beneath the altar-slab, in a costly sarco 
phagus, reposes the body of S. John Berchmans, a second S. Aloysius. 

cf. Spiral-staircase leading to the Capellette, little chapels; viz. ist, the 
room in which S. Aloysius lived for two years, now transformed 
into a Chapel: 2*, the room occupied by S. John Berchmans, now 
likewise a Chapel: y&, the Chapel in which S. Aloysius took his 
simple vows: the "Capella de voti". 

* From the printed copy of the acts of the Process, Tit. I. II. p. 29, 30, 
we learn that the obelisk of the Piazza of San Macuto was visible from the window of 
the room in the Roman College, wherein S. Aloysius died. Although the old Roman 
College had two windows opposite the obelisk, on our plan, see p. 387, they are to 
the right and left of the obelisk, the window of the room, in which the Saint died must 
have been the one nearest to the little door of the old Roman College, to the right 
of the obelisk, for this is the only window in the room which is beyond all doubt the 
one wherein the Saint expired, viz., the Chapel a, now the Chapel of S. Joseph in 
the Church of S. Ignatius. An inscription commemorates the event: 

Hie olim. Beati. 
Aloysii. Cubiculum. fuit. 

Et Sepulchrum. 

Here was once the chamber of 
S. Aloysius 


his tomb. 

Over the inscription we see a mural painting representing S. Aloysius receiving 
Holy Viaticum. 

Notes to Part III. 

I. (p. 249.) In the Notes to Part II we have already referred to 
the Acts of the Canonization of S. Aloysius and we shall frequently refer 
to them in the Notes to Part III. Moreover, as nearly the whole of 
this "appendix" has been compiled from these Acts, it seems desirable 
to give an account of the documents which we have used, explaining 
at the same time how we quote them. 

1) In the first place we make use of the MS. in 4 to entitled: 

Causa Canonizationis S. Aloysii 


Processuum Romani, Castellionis, 

Florentini, Vallis Tellinse, in 

Causa S. Aloysii. 

This MS., which is in the archives of the Postulator acting for the 
Society of Jesus in Processes of Beatification and Canonization, contains 
the copies of these Processes authenticated at the time, with the marginal 
notes of Coccini, Dean of the "Rota Romana". These copies are often 
quoted in later Processes (17181726). For the sake of brevity we 
simply call these the "Cod. Coccini". 

2) Printed Acts in large folio, in the private library of Monsignor 
Caprara, Prom. Fidei, who kindly placed them at my disposal. They 
are entitled: 

Congregatione Sacr. Rituum 
E m et R mo Domino 

Cardinali Fabrono. 
Romana seu Mantuana 


Beati Aloysii Gonzagse S. J. 

Relatio pro veritate et Animadversiones R. P. D. Fidei Promo- 
toris super statu Causae ejusque reassumptione, prosecutione et conclusione. 

(Prosper de Lambertinis, afterwards Benedict XIV.) 
Responsio Postulatoris Causce ad dictas Relationem et Animad 
versiones. (P- Andrew Budrioli S. J.) 

Notes to the third Part. 395 

Brevis scriptura juris Illmi Domini Amadori olim de Lanfredinis super 
numero Miraculorum ad Canonizationem approbatorum. 
Summarium omnium commune. Romse 1721. 

For the sake of brevity we refer to these as the "Relatio", when 
quoting from the Relatio Promotoris Fidei; or as the "Responsio", 
when quoting from the Responsio Postulatoris Causse; or as the "Sum 
marium", when quoting from the Summarium omnium commune. 

. 3) A volume containing a collection of the Acts in folio from the 
beginning of the year 1726, P. 38, which Monsignor Caprara also kindly 
lent, and in which is a document entitled: 

Romana seu Mantuana 

Bj Aloysii Gonzaga S. J. 
Informatio super dubio : 

An, stante approbatione Virtutum et Miraculorum tuto possit deveniri 
ad solemnem Canonizationem? 

For the sake of brevity we call this the "Informatio". 

2. (p. 250.) Prince Francis has left us the whole of this convers 
ation with Clement VIII., and has attested to it on oath in the Process 
which was held at Castiglione in the year 1608. The Prince was the 
nth amongst 33 witnesses and was examined on the ist O f September. 

3. (p. 250.) See P. L, note 39, where the title of the book is 
given more accurately. The letter represented here is found P. IV, ch. Ill, 
p. 326. 

4. (p. 252.) Thomas Mancini was the secretary of Cardinal della 
Rovere, as the 2nd -witness in the Process of Castiglione as Clement Ghi- 
soni, Councillor and Major-domo to Prince Francis, informs us. See Cod. 
Coccini Process. Castell. Test. II, p. 64. 

5. (p. 254.) See Abbatis Panormitani Commentaria in secundum 
librum decretalium, tit. 20, de testibus et attestationibus cap. 28, note i. 

& (P- 2 57-) The theologian mentioned here by Cepari is Paul 
Contini (Comitulus) S. J. of Perugia, born 1544, died 1626. 

He was the author of "Consilia seu Responsa moralia". He took 
part in the general Congregation of the Venetian province, which was 
held at Piacenza on September the 22 nd , 1603, on which occasion the 
General Claud Acquaviva was petitioned to further the beatification of 
Aloysius Gonzaga. 

Contini was the eighth amongst the 39 Fathers who signed the petition. 
He added his signature to that of Cepari. See the process of beatifi 
cation. Romana Canoniz. B. Alovsius Gonzaga S. J. Rel. Resp. Summ. 
Lit. Ill, p. 65. 

7- (p. 258.) Serafina Mancini was born in Tivoli, but resided in 
Rome for a long time, and later on entered the convent of the "Virgins 

396 Notes to the third Part. 

of Jesus" at Castiglione. In the Process which was held there on behalf 
of the beatification of Aloysius Gonzaga she gave an account of this and 
another miracle. 

She appeared as the 17 th among the witnesses. See Cod. Coccini 
Process. Castill. Test. XVII, p. 149. 

8. (p. 259.) Probably a relative of the famous Roman doctor 
Alexander Petronio, friend of S. Ignatius. 

9. (p. 262.) The young bride of the Polish King, Sigismund III., 
of whom Cepari here speaks, was Constantia, daughter of the Archduke 
Charles von Steinmark, Carinthia and Krain, and of the Duchess Mary 
of Bavaria. Anna, the elder sister of the bride, and the first wife of 
Sigismund III., died in 1598, when Constantia was only ten years old. 
See Weiss, Lehrb^lch der Weltgeschichte. Vol. 5. Die neuere Zeit. II. 
P. I, p. 133. Vienna 1882. Hurter, Geschichte Kaiser Ferdinands II. 
P. Ill, p. 53. Schaffhausen 1851. 

10. (p. 268.) The process spoken of here had been begun at Casti 
glione by the Bishop of Brescia in 1603, thanks to Father Cepari, who 
was in Lombardy collecting materials for the Life of S. Aloysius. Through 
his means, processes were instituted in several other towns of Italy. See 
Cepari s introduction to the reader. The process of Castiglione of 1603 
must not be confounded with that of 1608, which originated from the 
Congregation of Rites, in accordance with the Brief of Paul V., Aug. 31 st , 

n. (p. 268.) This wonderful answer to prayer, as well as the follow 
ing, are attested to by Father Decius Striverio S. J. of Catania, one of 
S. Aloysius fellow -no vices. He was at the time of the first miracle 
Provincial of Poland. When later on he became Provincial of the Venetian 
Province he deposed on oath to both these miraculous facts at the process 
of Castiglione, on Aug. 3 rd , 1609. See Cod. Coccini. Proc. Castell. 
Test. XIX., pp. 1 60 61. 

Genealogical Table 

House of 





N.B. The names of the reigning Princes 
are printed in larger type. The names 
of persons with whom St. Aloysius was 
personally acquainted are distinguished 
by an asterisk *. 


Frederick Francis John 

I t Lo 



Lucretia ( l ) Barbara 

sold Luzzara in 1557 to I) 
but bought it back in 156 
taining the Kief, the juris 
and only relinguishing the 
Katherine Colonna, daugh 

* Mark Antony 

1579, Primiciarius of the ducal Basilica Major-domo 
ot St. Andrea in Mantua; in 1589 ap. Vincent I of 
pointed by Sixtus V, Bishop of Casal- mart 

maggiore: Governor of the Marquisate 
of Monferrato ; f May 7th, 1592. 

St. Aloysius ( ) 

b. March 9th, 1568. ent. S. J. Nov. 2511 , 1585, 

t June 21th, 1591 ; beatified (vir<e vocis oraculo) 

Sept. 26th, 1605; (informally, May 21tii,1605); 

Brief of Beatification, Oct 19th 1605 

canonized, Dec. 3Hh, 1726. 

* Ferrante ( 3 ) * 4. Rodolph H ( 2 ) 

>. April 15<h, 1570, 4 " Lord alld 2nd Marquis of Castiglione 
t May 9th, 1577. b. May 7th, 1569, murdered Jan. 3r<<, 159! 
married Elena Alipranda. 





b. Jan. 7th, ir,89, b. 1590, + 

Aug. 5th, b. Sept 

. l"t, 1591 

t April 23r<i, JC49. 1593. f Dec 

23rd, 164 

6. Aloysius I r) Mary ( ) Aloysia C 2 ) 

and P u.. f MfoEj t " j^ ?ft ^ " ^ 29th 1C03 

Polyssena ( 3 ) 

b. Jan. 2nd, 1606. 


b. Jan. 8<l 

b. Jan. 25th, 1611, 

t Feb. 22n<J, 1636; 

married Laura Boschi, 

called .the Catholic". 



Aug. lt, 1636, in Ing 

Aloysius II 

titular Prince of Castig 
lione; b. Nov. llth, 1680, 
t 1746; married Anna, 
Countess of Anguissola. 



married Bartholomew 
Violini of Ceneda. 


1716, f 1760, ma 

Ellen Medini. 


Aloysius Philip 

b. 1745, fs. p. 1819; 
rnarr. Elizabeth Rangoni. 


IiUdovic in snrnamed Turco. 

Marquis of Mantua etc (see Genealogical Table A) married Barbara, daughter of John of 
.ined the Alchemist, grand daughter of Frederick VI, Burggrave of Nuremberg, lt Margr 
Elector of Brandenburg; born June 5th, 1414, + June llth, 1478. 


Francis Susanna 

1. Rodolph I 

Dorothy ( 

rd of Castiglione, Solferino, Goffredo; created by Emperor Sigismund Prince of the Hoi; 
22nd [493j; b. 1451, f July 6th, 1495; married lt, 1430. Antonia. daughter of Sigisi 
dly, 1183, Katherine Pico, Countess of Mirandola, sister of the celebrated John Pico della 

ohn Francis ( 3 ) 

d of Luzzara, invested 
May 29th, 1521 : 
j Charles V; f 1521; 
n .ed Laura, daughter 
Galeazzo Pallavicino. 



ke William of Mantua, 
William however re- 
iction, and the castle, 
itle; t 1578; married 
r of Prosper Colonna. 

2. Aloysius j 

2nd Lord of Castiglion 
b. about 1488, t July 19th 
1518, Genevieve, daughte 
2dly 1541, Katherine, d 
James Anguissa 

Alexander () P 

, Solferino, Goffredo marr. N 
1549; married lt about Coun 
r of Nicholas Rangone, 
aughter ef Count John 
la of Piacenza. 

* 3. Ferrante I () * \\ 

3rd Lord and lt Marquis, 1579, of Castiglione ; Lord! 
Prince of the Holy Roman Enpire; f Feb. 13th, marr j e a p 
1586; married Martha Tana of Santena. murderec] 

* Prospero 

o the Dukes William and 
Mantua; f Sept. 25th, 1614, 
d Isabella Gonzaga. 

Ferrante Julia Ginevi 

* Charles ( 4 ) 

b. July 9th, 1572, 
t Aug. 23rd, 1574. 

* 5. Fr 

5th Lord and 3rd Marqui 
of the Holy Roman Emp 
Lord of Medole, by exc 
1609, created by Rodolph 
b. April 27th, 1577, t C 
Bibiana P 

incis () * Isabel! 

of Castiglione, Prince b. Nov. 12 
re; from Nov. 7th, i 6 02, j 159 
lange for Castelgoffredo ; 
I, Prince of Castiglione ; 
ct. 23rd, (1616; married 


b. Sept. 30th 1592, 
t July 17 h 1650. 

( 4 ) Joanna ( 6 ) 

1610. b. Aug. 26th, 1612. 

7. Ferrante I] 

3rd Prince of Castiglio 
b. Aug. 7th, 1611, f Apr. 
1675; married Olympia S 
daughter of John Pa 
Marquis of Caravaggi 

C( 7 ) 


forza, 9. Ferrante III A lo^ 

o 5th Prince of Castiglione, marl 
lost his principality, Hy PF j 


married ma 
Frederick Gonzaga. 

Bibiana Aloysius | %? <%& 

rried Charles t *tat. 13. cession Aug 28*, 1648, 

sra* "-^fflsia*- 


b. Jan. 25th, K 
t 1704. 

Francis Almerico 

82, b. May 8th, 1684, t 1750 ; b. Feb. lt, 1686, 
Majordomo to the Queen a Camaldolese, 
of Spain; married lt f Aug. 23th, 1771. 
Isabella, daughter of Era- 


Carmine Caracciolo. 


Constance Laura Philip Lewis 

b Dec. 31 t, 1729, b. Jan. 31 "t, 1738, 
a nun + 1740. 

ave and Prince 

iecilia Barbara Ludovic Paula 

iund Malatesta; 

auia l 4 ) 

cholas Trivulzio, 
. of Musocco. 

Julia ( 5 ) 

nun at 8. Paolo in Mantua, 
t 1544. 

iorace ( 3 ) * Alphonsus ( l ) 

of Solferino ; 
i Jan. 14th, i>\87. 

Lord of Castelgoffredo ; 

t May 7th, 1592 ; married 

Hyppolita Maggi. 

ieve Angelica Bibiana Louisa Mary (Catherine 

* Christian Vincent ( 7 ) 

b. Sept. 30th, 1580, f 1635; 

larried Marcella, daughter of the 

Marquis Malaspina. 


Diego ( 8 ) 

b. Sept. 1582, mur 
dered Aug. 18" , 1597. 

8. Charles 

4th Prince of Castiglione (from 
1678) and Marquis of Medole 
b. May 3rd, 1616, f May 21th, 
1680 ; married Isabella, daugh 
ter of the Count of Martinengo. 


t 1630, 


t 1630. 

sia Francis Christian Aloysius Eleonora Marcella | 

led b. MaylOtb, b. Oct. 13th, b. 1650, married a nun; 

olitua 1652; un- 1655, t Feb. 15th, a Jesuit. Jerome f Dec. 17th, 

pina. married. 1743. f 1720. de Fuentes; 1710. 

t Dec. 20th, 1720. 


By second marriage: 

Philip Lewis 

b. Dec. 19th, 1740, 
t infant. 

Mary Louisa Xaveria 

tint Fuentes. 


Peter de Alcantara, 
Duke of Medinaceli. 

Notes to Appendix. 

1. (p. 281.) In the sacristy of SS. Nazario e Celso, is a painting 
representing this ceremony, in which in the picture of S. Aloysius over 
the altar, he is dressed in his religious habit. 

2. (p. 282.) Francis Gonzaga, then Imperial Ambassador at Rome. 
The engravings at pp. xvn and 277, are from paintings made in the life 
time of Prince Francis, which were originally turned towards the mira 
culous picture of the Madonna della Noce. The Lady chapel in that 
church was, as well as the adjoining Capuchin house, built by him, and 
he lies buried at Our Lady s feet. The inscription on his tomb is as 
follows : 

"Franciscus . Gonzaga . Castellionis . Princeps . 

Et . C . Bibianse . Pernestanse . uxori . 

Dilectissimse . Quae . Spiritum . Deo . Reddidit . 

In . Aurora . Diei . X\II . Febniarii . 

A. D. MDCXVI. Filiis . Carissimis . Ac 

Vivens Sibi. 


Francis Gonzaga Prince of Castiglione 
erected this during his lifetime for himself 
and for Bibiana Pernstein, his dearest wife, 

and his beloved children. 

She gave up her soul to God at break of day, 
on February 17, MDCXVI." 

Francis had a large hand in the reconciliation of Paul V. with 
Venice, and of the Emperor Rodolph with Philip III. of Spain. 

Rodolph in consequence raised him to a princedom, and the king 
gave him the Golden Fleece, and made him a grandee of Spain. He 
was a man of excellent life and a good ruler. He died, shortly after his 
wife, when in prime of life, on October 23, 1616. He built at Castig 
lione the College of the Society, and the Collegium of the Virgins ot 

398 Notes to Appendix. 

3. (p. 286.) The skull of S. Aloysius was first kept in the old 
palace of Castiglione, where the Jesuit Fathers were then living. 

When the Church of the Society was completed it was placed, 
Nov. 27, 1678, in a niche over the altar, where it still reposes. It 
was enclosed in a bust of silver; see p. 283. The present marble work 
is of 1769. It bears the following inscription: 

Divo Aloysio Gonzagse 

Concameratum Aram Penetrale | Pulvinar Calvarise Sacra? j 

Lucretia et Olympia | Stirpi Conradi Superstites | Polyxena Amita 

Utinam Superstes | Collegii Virginum Jesu | Gentili Benemerentis- 

simo j De Suo posuerunt, MDCCLXVIIII. 

To Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, 

Their holy relative, 

This Apse, Altar, Niche, and Shrine of his sacred skull, 
Lucretia and Olympia, descendants of Conrad, and Polyxena, their 

departed Aunt, 

Of the College of the Virgins of Jesus, 
Have erected at their own expense. MDCCLXVIIII. 

4. (p. 297.) Francis Dietrichstein , (b. 1570) son of Count Adam 
von Dietrichstein, Imperial Ambassador at Madrid, and of Margaret, of 
the great house de Cardona, a near relative to the royal family of Spain. 
Francis made his studies at the German and at the Roman College. He 
there made the acquaintance of S. Aloysius, and was very devout to 
him ever after. His virtue won the heart of S. Philip Neri, who pro 
phesied great things of him. He was created Cardinal, at the same 
time as Bellarmine, by Clement VIII., in 1599, and shortly after Arch 
bishop of Olmutz. He w T as a holy and munificent prelate. 

The picture referred to still exists in the Gregorian University. It 
is a work of some artistic merit, but has suffered greatly. Apparently 
it hung for many years in the first chapel erected in Rome to S. Aloysius, 
that of the church of the Annunziata. 

5. (p. 298.) The Brief of Paul V. confirming the title of Blessed 
is given in the Summarium Tit. Ill, 4, p. 73. It is directly an 
approval of Father Cepari s Life, establishing a copyright of the work. 

6. (p. 298.) The room where S. Aloysius died was, as has been 
said, changed into a chapel by Cardinal Bellarmine, who in 1618 caused 
a series of paintings from the life of the Saint to be executed for it. 
They are described at length in the Bollandists, p. 889. Afterwards 
they were transferred to his chapel in the Annunziata, and finally 
restored to their original place, where they still exist. MS. Origins 
del Collegia Romano e de suoi frogressi. From the same source we learn 
that the room in which the Saint lived was opened as a chapel on 
June 21, 1714. 

7. (p. 308.) The Decree gave permission to any college or univer 
sity to adopt S. Aloysius as their patron, with the privilege of saying 
the proper Mass and Office of the Saint. 

Notes to Appendix. 300 

8. (p. 308.) The devotion of the Six Sundays appears to have 
had its origine in the North of Italy. In 1736 a work appeared at 
Mantua, dedicated to the College of the Virgins of Jesus at Castiglione 
entitled "Divozione di sei giorni in onore de sei anni, che S Luigi 
visse in religione." From this work we learn that Thursday or Friday 
the alternative days of his death, were those originally chosen along 
with six special virtues to be imitated. The choice of Sunday brought 
the devotion more within reach. In 1740, F. Dominic Faccanoni pub 
lished at the same printer and place, as the work just mentioned, a 
book on the Six Sundays. The previous year, Father General Retz had 
obtained indulgences for this devotion, and from the MS. Littera Annucs 
of the Venetian province S. J. its rapid progress can be traced from 
that time onwards. It seems probable that F. Faccanoni was the author 
of the earlier work and that to him we owe to this devotion. 

Q. (p. 311.) "Delle grazie di S. Luigi d. C. d. G." Padua, 1756, 

10. (p. 324.) F. Mutius Vitelleschi, in the process of 1609, de 
posed at Rome : "That in Aloysius there was an extraordinary prudence, 
and, in particular, I often was amazed at the natural good sense, 
joined to the light of God, by which he directed all his plans and words! 
Nor could I ever imagine that he was to die of that illness, for I 
felt sure that God had called him to the Society to give him, at His own 
good time, the government of it, and that He would make him General 
to its great advantage" Cod. Coccini Process. Rom.: Test. XL p. 118. 

F. George Giustiniani S. J. in the process at Parma stated that 
S. Aloysius used to be called, "il nostro Generalino -- our little 
General", because every one was convinced that his rare gifts would 
undoubtedly procure him the highest office in the Society, if he lived. 

And F. Piatti in his "Vocatio Aloysii"; Holland, p. 899; speaks 
of his excellent talents and unwearying application. "For it deserves to 
be repeated that great as were the supernatural . gifts with which he was 
adorned, not less wonderful were his natural qualities. So too there was 
to be seen in him, besides his genius, the judgement and prudence of 
an old man in everything that he did and said." 

11. (p. 326.) Litta. "LecelebrifamiglieItaliane"TomIV. Tav.XVII. 
speaking of the Saint s modesty with his own mother, says : "As the state 
of perfection is extraordinary, we ought not to wonder, if the circum 
stances which surround it are extraordinary." 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga, 

arranged in chronological order. 

Those already printed in the body of the work or in the notes are 
referred to in their places. 

To his father, the Marquis Ferrante Gonzaga. 1 ) 

Illustrious and honoured Father. 

Your letter of the 6th instant saddened us because you speak of having 
suffered from gout, accompanied by slight fever, but however both were 
leaving you. A letter from our Mother, of the 8th instant, consoled us 
as we learnt from it, that you were now recovered. God be praised for 
this! Yesterday we went to see the funeral of the Grand Duchess it 
was very beautiful and lasted three hours. It was arranged in this way 
First came the standard of S. Lawrence and then the cross; these were 
accompanied by 150 poor persons in mourning carrying lighted torches. 
Then followed the friars not only of the city, but of the country three 
miles around, of 18 religious orders in all, with candles of a pound weight. 
Then came the mourners with the usual trains, 2 ) and behind them the 
Priests with the same kind of candles, then the pages, gentlemen and 
courtiers, all in mourning with torches. The body followed under a 
canopy, noblemen carried the body, and the canopy bearers were gentlemen 
of the city. Behind followed the Grand Duke in mourning and with 
the cap of a citizen, with the rest of the court and the armed guard. 
When he had accompanied the body to San Lorenzo he withdrew to 
his Palace. We continue our devotions and studies and are quite well. 
I have nothing more to say, but to conclude by kissing your hands and 
those of our honoured Mother, our little sister and brother. 3 ) 
Your Lordship s good son, 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 4 ) 


To the same. 

Yesterday we were with Don John 5 ) on the top of the same height 
(poggio) of the Grand Duke to see them run the race of S. Anne. The 

3 ) Don Ferrante was at this date in Genoa. 

2 ) The trains, attached to hoods, were many yards long. 

3 ) Isabella and Christian Vincent. 

*) This letter was written at Castiglione in 1578 as the MS. copy in the Archives 
of the Gesu mentions. F. Boero published it for the first time. Joan of Austria 
daughter of Ferdinand I., died on the 6th April 1578. This letter must have been 
written very shortly after that date. 

r> ) de Medici. 

404 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

prize was a piece of red cloth, and the barb of the Count di Bagno won it. 
Friday we went to see Don John, and as he did not wish to go out, 
we passed the time together cooking a number of things. But he eat 
nothing at all, for he was fasting to gain a Jubilee sent by the Pope 
which absolves from punishment and sin, provided you pray God to use 
His power in these affairs of Flanders, and for the exaltation of Holy 
Church, the extirpation of heresy, and the preservation of Christian 
princes. And we shall gain it this next week. And in our prayers we 
shall remember you, as we always have done and ever continue to do. 

Yesterday we were with Don John at the Pitti, 1 ) and while Don 
John was amusing, himself with us at a fountain, the Princesses came 
with a number of dogs, for they said they wanted a dog race. And 
while it was being run, the Grand Duke arrived by the Garden Gate, 
with only four of his gentlemen, and stayed to watch the fun. They all 
ran, the Princesses, Don John, and ourselves, and the sport lasted till 

During this holiday time we have been to mass at the Nunziata, 
and we prayed Her to grant you every happiness and pleasure, with all 
increase of content. We are well and are applying ourselves to our 

In conclusion we kiss your hand. 

Your most obedient son 
Florence, Aug. 17, I57- Aluigi Qonzaga. 

To the most illustrious Sir, my very revered father, the Marquis 
of Castiglione, Gen)a 


To Signor Peter Francis del Turco, his tutor. 

Dearest friend. 

I have received your letter which was to me most welcome, but 
I regret that you should think me so wanting in sense, as to be moved 
by words, which should only increase my love for you, to any kind of 
anger or hatred. It was not so, and never shall be, and wherever I am 
I shall always bear you in mind. I have given the 75 pence which I owed 
you to your brother. If there is anything more let me know. In con 
clusion I commend myself to you, to James, Bastiano, the lady Mary, 
little John, and Agnolino. 

From Castiglione May 21, 1581. 

Your servant 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 2 ) 

To my dearest friend Sig. Peter Francis del Turco, 

!) The well known palace of the Grand Duke at Florence. 

2 ) Published for the first time by F. Boero from the original in the Archives 
of the Gesii. Lady Mary was probably Mary de Medici. 


Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 4OS 


To the same. 
Very dear friend. 

I have written twice to you, once from Mantua, and once from 
Venice, and as I am uncertain whether these letters readied you and am 
anxious for your arrival, I send this fresh letter by our Peter _ who o" 

JSfcSSrl made 5 leaps S the air - to beg you not fail to --> 

but to set off as soon as possible. His Lordship, my father will be 
aTd rn y ysd f : g * ^ ^^ "* * ^esir^^t, "especiaHy 

At Castiglione, June i, one o clock of night (9. p. M .), 1581. 

Your servant 

, - Aluigi Gonzaga. 1 

To my very dear friend Signer Peter Francis del Turco 


To the same. 
Very worthy and dear friend. 

As ^J have very shortly to go to Spain with the empress, my 
mother and I have begged my father that you, who had been up to this 
time our tutor, may continue to fill that post. He most willingly granted 
our request and showed how pleased he would be. So I beg you to 
come as soon as possible, or at least to make up your mind as soon as 
you can, and when you have made up your mind, to leave at once. 
Because all your expenses for the journey, the moment you arrive will be 
made good. 

To conclude, Signor Lewis Pignalosa and I kiss your hand 

Castiglione, June 23, 1581. 

At your disposal. 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 2 ) 

To the very worthy and dear friend Master Peter Francis del Turco 


To the same. 
Very dear friend. 

Three days ago I wrote a letter to you, but fearing I may not have 
had the right address I write again to ask you to come immediately, as 
my Father desires that you, who have hitherto been our tutor, should 

*) The original is ke P t at F1 r ence by the family del Turco, descendants of the 
tutor of S. Aloysius. 

-) From the Saint s holograph in the Capellette of the Roman College. 

Saint Aloysius. 28 

406 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

accompany us as such on this journey. We are going to Spain and expect 
every day to set out, on which account his Lordship, my father, wishes 
you not to delay but to come at once. He promises that as soon as 
you have arrived you shall have the money expended in travelling. In 
conclusion I commend myself to all and beg you to kiss the hands of 
Don John in my name. 

At Castiglione, June 25, 1581. 

Your servant 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 1 ) 

To my dear friend Signer Peter Francis del Turco. 


To the Duchess of Guastalla. 2 ) 
Most illustrious Lady, my honoured aunt. 

In wishing you a happy Christmas, full of every joy, I am obeying 
my duty to you, and my wish ever to please you. 

May your kindness accept this my duty which your merits claim 
from me, and give me a. proof of it by your orders, while I remain, as 
I kiss affectionately your hand, 

your nephew and servant, 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 
Mantua, (sic) December 18, 1581. 


To his Uncle, Marquis Horace Gonzaga. 
Very illustrious Sir. 

The favour and aid you have ever deigned to show to our father and 
to all of us has been far beyond any service we have been able to render 
you, although our will and trust have been so great. I thank you 
accordingly for all, and in the name of my father, who is to-day suffering 
from his usual malady of the gout, and is not able to write and acknow 
ledge the kindness you have done him by sending the sum which he 
received to-day. He will hardly have returned before it will be his duty 
to repay it. 

With this, I kiss respectfully your hands, and in my Father s name, 
I conclude. 

Madrid, May 18, 1582. 

Nephew and servant, Aluigi Gonzaga> 

To my most illustrious and revered Uncle, 
Signor Horace Gonzaga. 3 ) 

J ) From the original kept in the Capellette of the Roman College. 

2 ) Camilla Gonzaga, nee Borromeo, daughter of Gilbert Count of Arona, brother 
ofS. Charles. The letter is written in the bad writing of a schoolboy. It is preserved 
by Mgr. Macchi. See note 25, P. I, p. 355. 

3 ) Don Ferrante often employed his son to write letters which he did not wish 
to be seen by his secretary. He had to borrow money, probably to pay his gamb 
ling debts. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 



To the same. 
Very illustrious Uncle. 

I should often have written to you, if I had not doubted whether 
the letters would have reached you, as I did not know where to address 
them, nor where you were, and if our duties with our serene master ) 
in whose service our father wishes us to be always engaged, had not 
hindered me. But at length, as I feared my great and unmeasured delay 
would make you somewhat suspect me of neglect, I resolved to put 
everything on one side, and profit with pleasure of this short time, which 
is over from my above-named occupations, to pay you by this letter my 
humble respects, and to tell you that our father went nine days ago to 
Lisbon, and that we are here in Madrid with our mother, who, as you 
must have heard, was obliged by our father s illness to remain at Sara- 
gossa and give up attendance on the King, who is now in Lisbon, and 
he has seen his brother with the King. 
So kissing your hands I conclude. 
Madrid, May 28, 1582. 

Your nephew and servant 

Luigi Gonzaga. 2 ) 
To my illustrious Uncle, 
Signer Horace Gonzaga, Marquis &c. Solferino. 


To the same. 

as you have condescended so far in our favour, 

I offer your Lordship my respects and my wishes ever to be devoted to 
your service and to enjoy your favour. And so too does my Father. 
With this I kiss your hands. 

Madrid, June 25, 1582. 

Nephew and servant, 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 
To my very honoured Uncle, Horace Gonzaga, Prince Marquis. 3 ) 


Letter to Father Acquaviva, Aug. 15, 1585, from Castiglione. P. I, 
note 38, p. 362. (lozzi, p. 17.) 

) Don Diego, the Infante. 

2 ) Written apparently by Rodolph. It is in the Gonzaga Archives, Mantua. 

3 ) This fragment is in the possession of Prof. lozzi. 


Letters of S, Aloysius Gonzaga. 

To the Marquis of Castiglione, his Father. 
My honoured Father. 

I am desired to send you the enclosed, which Sig. John Ordanino 
has received from his nephew at Venice. I do so more on account of 
the co d of the lady/and that-you may read it rather than on accoun 
if anv authenticity or flavour it contains, except the news about 1 
plaeue i? true whkh pray God maybe false. Sig. Peter Francis has heard 
From Mgr. James at Florence that Sig. Julius del Caccia has been made 
Governor General of the State of Sienna. This is all that at presen 
occurs to me, except that Rodolph has a slight "*^*-* 
are all well and may it please the Divine Majesty to grant good healtl 
to your Lordship whose hands I kiss in conclusion. 
Your Lordship s obedient Son 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 
Castiglione, Sept. 29, 1505. 
To my illustrious Father the Lord Marquis of Castiglione. 1 ) 


To the same. 
My honour-ed Father. 

Rodolph received your letter this morning, to which I reply, as he 
is in bed with a slight indisposition , with which his toothache ended, 
to tell you !n his name that h e has done whatever you ordered excepting 
to go himself to speak to the people in the country as his sickness 
keeps him at home, but Signor Antony will not fail to do it I 
yesterday the bill of the articles which are wanting for Master Tulliu, 
let to work upon them. Your Lordship will hear from others whatever 
else there may be, therefore I will say no more, but end by kissing youi 
hands, begging of God to preserve you. 
At Castiglione, Oct. I, 1585. 

Your Lordship s obedient Son 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 2 ) 


_ to Father Acquaviva, Nov. .2, 1585. See P. I, note 48, p. 37O. 


to his mother, April, 1586. See P. II, note 3, p. 374- 

The original is in the Archives of San Vitale at Parma. Don Ferrante was 
T^e O^ffifa kept in the Archives of Sanvitale at Parma. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 409 


To his mother. 
Most revered mother in Christ. 

The consolation which I by a letter, enclosed in one from the Father 
Minister of Mantua, meant to wish to offer you, and of which the sorrow 
at the loss of my father of happy memory makes me feel the need, all 
urge me to recall to you, as I do by this, what I urged in my last, 
resignation to the Divine Will. 

As he was always submissive to it in life, now that God has called 
him by so happy a decease, we may trust too that he has by that same 
holy Will happily reached the life to which we all aspire. 

And so ought we not rather to rejoice than to grieve when those 
we love arrive there, in full hope in God that it has been so ordained 
by His fatherly providence, which the Lord has towards all? He will not 
fail to pray very specially for those who commend themselves to him, 
as yourself and your family. And since I have not omitted heretofore, so I 
shall not cease to beg His Divine Majesty to console and govern you. 

Nor do I fail to receive the recompense of consolation in the news 
of how well all has gone with Signor Rodolph, my brother. Besides 
what I advised him by letter some days back, I think I ought not to 
cease reminding him how useful I consider for him would be the services 
of Doctor Sallust, who offered himself to me by letter; and this for 
certain reasons, which as you and Rodolph can examine them more close 
at hand, so too if he remembers, he can do what the Lord dictates, 
from Whom in conclusion I beg for him every happiness. 

Rome, April 10, 1586. 

Your Ladyship s obedient son in Christ 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 


To the Marchioness Gonzaga, his Mother. 
Honoured Mother in Christ. 

I received some days back a letter from you which rejoiced me much 
in the Lord, for its good news of yourself and your family, but I could 
not help feeling deeply what you hinted at regarding my brother; and as 
I hope our Lord will direct this affair, I commend it to Him. I beg of 
you to salute my brother in my name, and recommend to him what is due 
to him and his family, that is dependence on those to whom he owes 
it and according as our Father directed. I inform your Ladyship of 
the gift I made of myself to the Divine Majesty by my vows on the 
feast of S. Catherine, and begging you to thank God for this favour, 
also ask you to obtain from Him that I may keep them and go forward 
in the way in which he has called me, that after this life, we may 
enjoy him together in Heaven, where He is so anxiously waiting for all 
His own. I also accept the offer you made me in your last of some 

4 io Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

more money for writing so I ask you for another 25 crowns. I recommend 
myself to you in our Lord, from whom I beg for you every increase in 
His Grace. 

Your Ladyship s most obedient son in Christ, 

Rome, Dec. u, 1587. Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 1 ) 

To the illustrious Lady, my reverend mother in Christ, the 
Marchioness of Castiglione. 

Mantua, favoured for Castiglione. 


To the same. 

Honoured Mother in Christ. 
Pax Christi . 

Your last letter tells me the good desire my brother had to come 
to terms with the Duke of Mantua; and I beg you not to cease to help 
towards this end. As to what you told me besides, I think the fittest 
means is what Christ, our Lord, instituted on earth, namely marriage. 
It seems to me it would be well to counsel it to my brother and if you 
think it necessary Monsignor 2 ) the Cardinal della Rovere and I will 
also advise it, as to both of us it seems expedient. I know of no 
match here except a daughter of Count Troilus di S. Secondo, whom it. 
is proposed to marry to the brother of a Cardinal of this Court, a great 
friend of Monsignor della Rovere. But as the arrangement is already 
begun, and especially as it is with a personal friend of the Cardinal, I 
do not think it well to hinder it till we see the upshot. However he 
told me he did not think it would come off on account of the lady, who as 
she is from the north would be very unwilling to marry in these parts. If 
we wait, I think it would not be a bad match for the Marquis, my brother. 

You could learn more about it there, and if you found it was a 
match which was pleasing to the Duke of Mantua, I think it better, 
because it would help to kill two birds with one stone. You and Signer 
Alphonsus, my uncle, if you think it well, could take pains there to 
push the suit, while I, on my part, with the little I can do, will not 
fail to commend it to the Divine Majesty, from Whom in the first place 
we are to look for all good results. Besides, if needs be, his relatives, 
Monsignori the Cardinals Gonzaga and Rovere will not fail to further it 
and to help in every way. With this in conclusion I commend myself 
to you in the Lord and beg you to salute in my name Lady Hippolyta, 3 ) 
my brother, the Marquis, &c. 

Rome, June 20, 1588. 

Your obedient son in Christ 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

To my illustrious and reverend Mother in Christ, the Marchioness 
of Castiglione &c., Castiglione. 4 ) 

J ) From a copy in the Archives of the S. J. 2 ) The old title of Cardinals. 

s ) The wife of Don Alphonsus Gonzaga. 

4 ) The original is in the Church of S. Tommaso, Venice. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 4II 


To the same. 
Most revered Mother in Christ. 

Pax Christi. 

I received a few days ago a letter from you giving the answer- of 
the Duke of Mantua about the castle of Solferino. It gave you an 
opportunity of exerting a mother s pity and love, while on me it lays 
the duty of begging His Divine Majesty to bring this affair to such a 
termination as He knows to be best. And meanwhile may He be with 
you in all these trials, in which as our most holy Lady is your guide, 
for to-day, the feast of the Holy Innocents, she fled into Egypt 
think you cannot have a greater consolation than to look at such a 
[t was for this very reason that our Blessed God and His most 
holy mother chose to pass through the bitter waters of tribulation, that 
as they tasted so bitter to them they may be made sweet for us. 

I, by the Lord s favour, am pretty well, and as Christmas has come, 
the season of abundance of prayers, I remember all the more to pray 
for you. So I beg you to do for me, which is just what I need, as I, 
by God s goodness, want for nothing else; to Whom- in conclusion I 
commend you. 

Rome, Dec. 29, 1588. 

Your obedient son in Christ 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

To my most revered Mother in Christ, the Marchioness 
of Castiglione. 


To the same. 

Most revered Mother in Christ. 
Pax Christi. 

Before receiving your last letter in which you requested me to beg 
Monsignor the Cardinal della Rovere for the leave you desired to enter 
the Convents of nuns, his Lordship had already spoken to me about it 
and said that he had, before you asked him, already asked for the same 
permission for another lady, and he had been refused by his Holiness. 
However as you have leave, which you got from Gregory XIII., to enter 
the Convent of Santa Maria, he would venture by laying this before the 
Pope to make this further request. After your last letter I spoke again 
to the secretary of the Cardinal. It seems to him necessary that you 
send him the permission, so that Monsignore may lay the matter afresh 
before his Holiness. I think it necessary that you do this. Meantime 
if any occasion presents itself to do anything I will not fail to speak 
again to the Cardinal. 

As to the rest, I, by God s favour, am moderately well in my head, 
and very well in every other way. I wish the same for you. As of 

412 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

all the consolations in this life none are greater or more fruitful than 
those of His Divine Majesty, we can, it seems to me, gather comfort 
from that which the Lord repeats so often in Holy Scripture, and especially 
in the Psalm Exurgat Deus,*} that He is the protector of orphans and 
the Judge of widows?} 

Besides I wrote to Signor Alphonsus, who I hope will not fail to 
console you. I have had no answer from my brother as yet to three 
letters which I have written to him, to send me 40 scudi at the beginning 
of this year for the writing out (the notes of) my Theology (lectures), 
which I required, as the superiors of our Society would not allow me to 
take them down in school with my own hand, because of some suffering 
which I have in my head. 

As to the rest, I humbly commend myself to your Ladyship, for 
whom in conclusion I beg every fullness of graces, and I beg you to 
salute in my name my brothers, who are with you, and Doctor Salust. 

Rome, March 9, 1589. 

Your obedient son in Christ 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 


To the Marquis Rodolph, his brother. 

Pax Christi. 

Here, thanks be to our Lord, I have arrived safely at Mantua, with 
my Brother, 3 ) and am lodged through the kindness of the Fathers of the 
Society in their College. And to-day I will present myself and endeavour 
with God s help to disentangle and decide the business which before all, 
I have wished to place in His Hands. It is for Him to do what is best, 
and this I hope He will. Towards evening, the lay-Brother, my fellow 
traveller, and I shall be at Castiglione, where we shall stay. 

I conclude, asking you to present my respects to the Lady Marchioness, 
our Mother, whose hands I kiss. 
The College of Mantua, 1589. 

Your devoted Servant in Christ, 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 4 ) 
To my illustrious Brother in Christ, the Marquis of Castiglione. 


To his Mother, 5 ) the Marchioness of Castiglione. 
My Mother in Christ. 

Pax Christi. 

I send back the messenger to your Ladyship because I see that the 
audience with the Duke is delayed longer than I expected, as he is con- 

*) Ps. LXVII. 2 ) V. 8: vere "the father of orphans". 

3 ) His companion, Br. Borlasca. See p. 186. 

4 ) The holograph of this letter is with others in possession of Prof. lozzi. 

5 J This is kept in Venice by the Signori Fetich. They may have obtained it, when 
they got possession of the relics and vestments of the Chapel of Pope Clement XIII. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 413 

tinually on the move between Mantua and Marmirolo. Signor Fabius 
told me the other day, that up to this time, since the arrival of his 
Highness, he had not had an hour in which he thought he could give 
me a quiet audience such as my business requires, and as the Duke pro 
mised. I do not fail to use the necessary diligence as I have Sig. Fabius 
for procurator, and Sig. Prospero for solicitor. I do not dare to hurry 
them more, because I do not want seculars to preach patience to me, 
which I ought to teach to them. I therefore make this known to your 
Ladyship, and I beg you to inform Sig. Alphonsus, that he may not be 
surprised and anxious at my delay. As soon as I get an audience I will 
let you and my uncle know; and I recommend myself to both of you in 
our Lord. 

Mantua, Oct. 26, 1589. 

Your Ladyship s most obedient son in Christ 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

To my illustrious and most honoured Mother in Christ, 

the Marchioness of Castiglione. fa gan Martino . 


To Signor Fabius Gonzaga. 

My illustrious and most honoured Lord in Christ. 
Pax Chris ti. 

I beg your Lordship to see that his Highness gives his consent to 
receive my brother into his favour; to annul his banishment there 
can not fail to be some plan according to the wishes of the Duke. 
I beg of you, since the Duke promised me to do this for the love of 
God, in "Whose Name I asked this favour, not to seek to benefit him 
by means of any other Prince. I write this to your Lordship on account 
of a plan proposed to me, not from his Highness, but out of his own 
head by Signor Tullius, regarding the Emperor. As the Duke has not 
sought for this, it would only hinder and delay the affair so, that I could 
not before my departure have the consolation to know that the Duke had 
restored him to favour. If letters from members of noble families are 
required, they could be procured before my brother s arrival at Mantua, 
when the assurance of this favour had been given. 

I pray God to grant you every grace. 

The College of Mantua, Nov. 5, 1589. 

Your obliged Servant in the Lord 

Aluigi Gonzaga S. J. 1 ) 

J ) The original of this letter, which bears the stamp of the Jesuit College at 
Mantua is kept in the Archives of the Gonzaga family in that city, whence Professor 
lozzi faithfully copied it by favour of the Director Signor Davari. 

414 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

This has no adress. 1 ) 

Pax Christ! . 

As I was about to leave Mantua I received the packet of Signor 
Tullius, which I send to your Excellency, most humbly recommending 
to you the affair in question, that you may interpose, with the Duke of 
Mantua, for the protection and favour of my brother the Marquis, who 
is your devoted servant. I shall regard this as done for the love of 
God our Lord and I trust in Him that He will turn it to our greater 
advantage. The Duke to whom I write, has answered favourably. Nothing 
is needed but a word from you in confirmation of all according to the 
will of His Divine Majesty. May He grant your Lordship every gift 
and grace! 

From the College of Mantua, Nov. 1589. 

Your devoted and obedient servant in the Lord, 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 


To the Marquis Fabius Gonzaga. 

Pax Christi. 

Thanks be to the Lord our God, who in His infinite charity and 
mercy, has deigned to bring this long and intricate business to a happy 
end by means of your Lordship, who has thus restored peace to our 
family and gained great merit in the sight of God. I receive this grace 
from His Hands and I beg Him to give you a reward in Heaven for it, 
and in the mean time every consolation here below as a pledge of eternal 

From the College of Mantua, 1589. 

Yours devoted and obliged in the Lord, 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

To my illustrious Lord in Christ, Sig. Fabius Gonzaga. 2 ) 


To his brother, Rodolph. Febr. 6, 1590. See P. II, note 17. 


To his brother, Rodolph. 
Illustrious brother in Christ. 
Pax Christi. 

You have heard my proposition, which is so much the easier, as of 
two things which I required from you after my leaving Milan, I now 

1 ) This autograph letter is in the possession of Prof. lozzi. 

2 ) The original of this letter, no less interesting than those that precede it, is 
in possession of Prof. lozzi. The discord between Rodolph and the Duke of Mantua 
about the possession of the fief of Solferino, induced the Saint to interfere as an 
angel of peace. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 415 

only bind you to one, which you owe me, not as brother only, but as 
a Christian. In conformity with what I heard from you, I wrote to Rome 
about my return which will take place shortly, though I do not know 
the day, I know it will be soon. And as I am first to see you go to 
Germany, in case you take -the more holy resolution, I think this will 
be the sooner the better. Make haste therefore, for you may be certain 
that I will keep my promise as far as I can. But to do what is your 
duty, I say again do not fail, as I feel certain you will not; therefore 
commending you as earnestly as I can to God and asking for you, from 
His Divine Majesty every happiness and abundance of his holy graces, 
I conclude. 

Your most affectionate Brother 
in Our Lord 

Milan, Feb. 9, 1590. Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

I desire in every way that we should be friends in the Lord, but 
from Him I have to look for the necessary strength to obtain this, even 
though by religious violence. And remember that of two things which 
you promised me, to unveil the altar, and to send her away from you. 
I only bind you to one, and this too after your return from Germany. 
Your departure has to take place before mine to Rome which will be 
very shortly. 1 ) 


To the same. 

Honoured Sir, my brother in Christ. 
Pax Christi. 

The wish I have always had for your spiritual welfare and the. 
consolation I so lately experienced in its regard at Castiglione, move 
me to write, at the Lord s dictation, what seems to me will be very 
useful and expedient for you, in the same Lord, to secure and preserve 
this welfare. And it is, that before your departure for Germany, during 
this holy season of Lent, until Easter, you prepare yourself to make a 
general confession, at least from the one I know you made five years 
since, at Mantua, until now. For in this way you make sure, as far as 
can be in this life, that none of your offences against His Divine 
Majesty remain, which you may have left unsaid in those confessions, 
that you made almost secretly and furtively during the time in which, 
through human respect, you did not dare to show yourself a servant of 
Christ. This I think will be all the easier as the difficulties are now 
removed, which you have got over, and nothing of them remains save 
the fruit of hope and the pledge, and a very certain one, as you may 
presuppose, owing to your confession, that you are in the grace of God. 
So I recommend it to you very much. 

Henceforward to preserve this grace, the Lord it is Who, as He 
has deigned to move your heart far more than any words or endeavours 
of mine, will also instruct and direct you. Yet to fulfil the obligations 
I have towards you, and to cooperate with Providence to the end, as I 

) See reverse of reproduction of autograph. The original is in the College of 
the "Virgins of Jesus", Castiglione. 

4i 6 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

have done up till now, I propose to you two means especially which 

occur to me. 

One is to have in your heart that esteem and value of the grace 
of God, which as no matter what I might say I never could in the 
least part express, nor could anyone make you fully conceive, save the 
Blessed God, so I leave it to Him to teach it to you. This alone I 
will say, that as God is above all created things, honours, possessions, 
and anything whatsoever, so if it were possible should our inter 
nal esteem of His Divine Majesty surpass our esteem or idea of any 
thing whatever. As however the limited capacity of our hearts does not 
allow this, we ought at least to try that it should be as great as pos 
sible within us. 

The second means is to act in conformity with the state of grace 
providing good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the 
sight of all men. (Rom. XII. 17.) I remind you then of the worship 
and service of God, which I recommended you by word of mouth. And 
as it seems a special duty of religious to recommend the religious ser 
vice due to God, I will descend to some particulars, which you can 
practise according to the measure of grace which the Lord may deign 
to give you. 

Of these, one is to commend yourself to the Lord in prayer every 
morning, as by the daily exercise or some such devotions, during which 
you might also ponder over some of the points you will find in the 
daily exercise at the end of the little book I sent you written by the 
late Cardinal Borromeo. 1 ) There too are other souvenirs that you can 
read. I will not say more, but to urge you besides to go to Mass, as 
was agreed. 

Then in the evening, I never would wish you to go to bed before 
looking into yourself to see whether you have offended God, so that in 
case you are conscious of mortal sin, from which may the Lord guard 
you! you may resolve as soon as possible to blot it out by means of 
the sacrament of Penance. You should recollect that you always need 
this whenever you have anything to repent of. Nor should you there 
fore ever wait for a fixed period, like Easter, or any other time; for 
no one can be sure that he will be alive then. 

Next, to provide good things in the sight of all men, I commend to 
you that respect we owe our relatives and lords. I do not wish to say 
anything about this, as I feel sure how you have it at heart. Merely 
for the duty which is upon me, not for any need that I think you have 
of it, I commend to you that respect you owe the Marchioness, our 
mother, as mother, and such a mother. Besides you know, as the head 
of your brothers, how you ought to keep them united and act in such 
sort towards them that they should always delight in this union. As 
to your vassals, I will not say more than that God has given them in 
charge to you in a special and particular way, perhaps to signify to you 
the special and spiritual care you should have of them, and how in the 
providence of God towards you, you should see the manner in which 
you should look after them. As to the rest, I leave God to instruct 

S. Charles. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 417 

and direct you in the way of this life, till we reach our blessed country, 
where, that I may find myself with you and others, I have embraced 
the state in which I live. 

Meanwhile, for the confession of which I spoke at the commence 
ment, I propose for your spiritual director one of ours , as by the obli 
gation of our institute they are accustomed to such duties. Were you 
to go to Mantua, I would strongly advise Father Matthias who was con 
fessor to the late Duke William. If you should not have to leave 
Castiglione , I have already spoken to the Father Rector of Brescia, 
who as he puts that college at your disposal, so he would always pro 
vide you with a confessor whenever you ask for one. 

With this I conclude. And as what I have recommended depends 
for its execution more upon God s grace than on your own painstaking 
or anything I may say, I offer you and promise in my prayers, such as 
they are, ever to commend you before the Divine Presence that He may 
preserve you and guide you to that blessed end to which His elect attain. 
Milan, March 17, 1590. 

Your Lordship s brother in Our Lord, 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 

To the Marchioness of Castiglione, his sister-in-law. 
Madam and sister-in-law. 

Pax Christi. 

I am thinking of beginning to avail myself of your aid for the 
spiritual advantage of the Marquis, which I proposed to myself when at 
Castiglione. Accordingly I beg of you to recommend to him by word 
of mouth, what in the enclosed I urge by letter. Try then, before he 
goes to Germany, to get him to set himself right, as I should wish him to 
be , by means of a general confession, in the way I have suggested to him. 
I think you will have received some spiritual works which I ordered 
at Brescia to be sent to you. 

With this, as a conclusion, I commend myself to you, and beg of 
our Lord to give you perfect happiness. 
Milan, March 21, 1590. 

Your Ladyship s affectionate servant in the Lord 

Aluigi Gonzaga. S. J. *) 

To his Brother the Marquis of Castiglione. 
Illustrious and honoured .Brother in Christ. 

Pax Christi. 

I received a few days since a letter of yours of the beginning of 
September, which gave me much consolation, as I learned from it that 
you had sought so excellent a remedy for the sickness God had sent 
you, which was to have recourse to God Himself for health, and I have 

The original is lost. A copy is among the Simonetti MSS. 

4i 8 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

returned Him thanks for restoring it to you. And as you tell me that 
the spiritual medicine you have used, has not only restored health, but 
will confirm it and preserve you from a relapse; I earnestly beg of you 
to use it not only in bodily infirmities, but also whenever you have 
any spiritual malady, because for this it has been instituted by Christ, 
our Lord, and from which I entreat His Divine Majesty to preserve you. 
I exhort you to make use of it as a preservative. Such medicines are 
not used merely in sickness, but at other times, to obtain the end which 
you tell me you expect from what you have taken. I am consoled that 
the lawsuit with the Duke of Mantua is at an end, for it will thus be 
easier for you to preserve the favour, first of His Divine Majesty, which I 
desire above all, and then of his Highness as lord and head of your 
-family. Besides this, I hope and feel certain that between you and your 
brothers there will never be any quarrel or contention, other than might 
be the case of a father with his children, for their good and benefit. 
As my state of life does not allow me to entertain you with worldly 
news, I will tell you what my opinion is in this matter. It is, that 
though every law requires that positive justice (jus) should give way to 
natural, it seems to me that you will only do what is reasonable or 
perhaps obligatory, when in any difference or discord that may happen, 
you always prefer the natural laws of blood and fraternal affection to 
any law written by the legists. I do not think it is needful to remind 
you of this, as I think you already have it at heart sufficiently, and in 
conclusion I beg of the Divine Majesty to grant you the grace and 
peace I desire for you. 

We have again here in Rome a Vacant See and \ve are praying 
for the election of a Sovereign Pontiff, who may carry out the good 
desires with which the Lord had inspired him whom, for our sins, He 
called out of this world in a few days. 1 ) 

4th October 1590. 

Your Lordship s most affectionate Brother in our Lord 

Luigi Gonzaga S. J. 2 ) 

To my illustrious and honoured Brother, the Lord Marquis 
of Castiglione. Castiglione. 


To Brother Antony Francis Guelfucci S. J. 

Dearest Brother in Christ. 

Pax Christi. 

I had intended not to write until I received letters from you, as 
we settled on when parting, but on the one hand my affection for you and 
the desire to enjoy a conversation with you by letter, as distance allows 

J ) Urban VII., Castagna. 

2 ) The original is lost. A copy exists in the Simonetti MSS. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 4IO , 

us no other means, and on the other hand the opportunity given me bv 
Father Mancinelli s journey, have made me change my mind. So by 
this letter I salute and embrace you in the Lord with all affection 
God knows what consolation it has been to hear from Father Provincial 
the good news that for his comfort he told me "he had received regard 
ing you from your letter. May the same Lord in this precious time 
which He has granted you for your spiritual profit, fill you with His 
gifts, and so increase His graces, that they may not benefit you only, but 
those also after your return here who most desire your company and have 
most need of spiritual improvement as is my case. 

In the meantime help me with your prayers, and by recommending 
me to those of Father Pescatore, which I very, very much desire. I 
shall not fail to do the little I can in commending you to our Lord. 
May it please His Divine Majesty that we may help one another in His 

In conclusion, again and again I commend myself to you and I 
beg you to commend me to Father Pescalore and to Father Mutius de 

Rome, December 12^ 1590. 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ 

Luigi Gonzaga. 

Father Marius Fuccioli salutes you and says he has received your 
letter, and if you want anything you can make use of him, and I say 
the same of myself in all I am able. 

To my dear Brother in Christ, Antony Francis Guelfucci, S. J 

Naples. 1 ) 


To his Mother. 

Illustrious Lady my revered Mother in Christ. 
Pax Christi . 

As I know how much you desire and are consoled on receiving, 
my letters for your satisfaction, I wish by this to take occasion from 
the holy festival of Christmas to salute you and to wish you a happy 
feast as I have, with special feivour, begged the Lord in my prayers, 
such as they are, at this sacred time. It offers me an occasion to 
write all the more gratifying and suited to my taste as all other worldly 
business, and whatever I have once for all abandoned are most tiresome 
to me and of that nature with which I have least reason to be acquainted. 

May God then, through the common joy of holy Church and 
through the satisfaction that He had at the temporal birth of His only 
Son, console your Ladyship and fill you with every grace. May He do 
this through the intercession of His most holy Mother, whom you can 

a ) In the Sacristy of Manresa House, Roehampton, the Noviciate of the English 
Province of the Society. 

420 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

think what trouble and joy she felt at the same time, trouble for the 
temporal poverty that she suffered in a stable, where she had not the 
means to protect Jesus Christ, her Son, Who was born to her, from the 
cold, nor even to provide for Him in the great need and temporal 
necessity in which she was. One can imagine that these were for her 
in place of the pains of child-birth, from which she was freed by special 
privilege. On the other hand what great joy she felt at the sight and 
presence of her Little Child, God, Whom she saw before her. 

So, as the Lord says of woman, when she is in labottr she hath 
sorrow, btit when she hath brought forth the child, she remember eth 
no more the anguish, for joy that a son is born into the world, so I 
think the most glorious Virgin, when she considered the temporal needs 
of her Son, she had sorrow and sadness like that of child-birth at 
not being able to provide for Him as she would wish. When how 
ever she gazed on that same Son, she was consoled and quite forgot 
every trouble, not merely because a man was born, but because 
at the same time God was born into the world. Thus too I will 
take courage, from the condition in which I am, to advise your 
Ladyship what to do, to mirror yourself in the example of the Virgin 
Mary; and if the cares and temporal anxieties which you have to provide 
for your young orphan children sometimes give you annoyance and trouble, 
just as the thought of how to provide for the temporal wants of her 
child, Jesus, gave pain to the glorious Virgin, so on your part console 
yourself, as she consoled herself and received consolation from His 

She is our real Queen, from whose example better comfort ought 
we to receive than from the Queen of Spain, in whose service you are, 
or from anyone like her, who found herself in such a condition. So if 
it is a comfort to the afflicted, to have companions in like troubles, what 
greater consolation can your Lordship have than the company of Mary 
the Virgin, as she who shares them with you is so great, and is in 
troubles and cares so like to those of your Lordship? 

I write just what occurs to me in the Lord, and to satisfy the desire 
and consolation alike which you tell me you receive with my letters. 
As to the rest however what concerns some individuals at home, of 
which Cardinal della Rovere spoke to me, you will learn from him his 
opinion, to whom I entirely refer you, only adding that if that difference 
about which you spoke to me is to be ended not by a lawsuit, as it 
seems to me also by no means fitting between brothers, but rather by 
means of arbitrators, I think they had better be chosen there than here, 
where owing to the great distance information could either not reach at 
all or be very scanty. You could see who would be suitable for this, 
for example, perhaps the Duke Vespasian di Sabbioneta 1 ) or some one 
else whom you can better decide. I shall beg Jesus Christ that as in 
the Nativity the angels sang: Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax 
hominibiis bonce -voluntatis , so He may deign to grant true peace and 

J ) Vespasian, Duke of Trajetto and of Sabbioneta was fourth cousin to S. Aloy 
sius, descended from a common ancestor, Louis III. Marquis of Mantua. He had 
held high places in Spain. Genealogies Historiques. T. II. 298. Paris, 1736. 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 

Rome, the last day of Dec. 1590. 

Your son, reverendly in Christ, 

Luigi Gonzaga, S. J. *) 

To the illustrious and most revered Lady in Christ, 
the Marchioness of Castiglione, 

Mantua for Castiglione. 

To his brother, the Marquis of Castiglione. 
Revered brother in Christ. 

Pax Christi. . 

It is a long time since I have paid you my respects by letter So 
the opportunity which I have for doing this is all the 1 more welcome 1 

lo me re inTd lY **, f ^ * ^ rf *** whkh is -mmended 
vh 1 i Ur f S me y un e women de> F eadi, one of 

whom is already consecrated to God in a convent and the other is per 
haps going to enter. I beg you to interpose your authority that they 
may not be troubled or hindered from their good desires. He who 
gives you this letter perhaps will make a more detailed request 

1 recommend to you besides another work of mercy, but to which 
I think you are bound, and it is that you remember to aid your vassals tlS 
year especially in their distress. If it is as dire as what it is about he" 
and in this City it is really extreme. Therefore I commend it much to 
you who I think does not at all forget the good advice and the frequent 
employment of those preservative medicines, whether of soul or body 
of which you last wrote to me. I will not them speak at greater length 
of anything else, save to let you know in fine the comfort I received 
at the news m a letter of my Mother, of the agreement you have 
come to with your brothers about the property, as to which there was 
a dispute. In fact the agreement seems to be excellent, and well fitted 

I am not going to write now to our mother, so I beg you to eo 
on purpose to pay her my respects in my name. This will be a con 
solation to her, as you can at the same time give her good news about 
my health. I beg you likewise to remember me to the Lady Marchio 
ness, your wife, to my brothers, to Monsignor the Archpriest &c. 
Rome Jan. 26. 1591. 

Your affectionate brother in the Lord 

Luigi Gonzaga, S. J. 
To my revered Brother in Christ, the Marquis of Castiglione, 

Castiglione. 2 ) 

>) In the parish Church of Mannheim, Baden 
I trom a copy in the Simonetti MS. The original is lost 

5aint Aloysius. 


422 Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga. 


To his Brother Rodolph. 1 ) 
Illustrious Brother in Christ. 
Pax Christi. 

Though I have nothing particular at present to write about, yet I 
do so to satisfy the bearer of this letter and I can assure you that by the 
grace of God I am in very good health. I hope and pray that His Divine 
Majesty may grant you the same in body and soul. To-day is the last 
of Carnival and on this day or shortly before, if I am not mistaken, I 
left you last year at Castiglione, with very good desires and resolutions, 
so I will not here remind you further, than to beg you now and here 
after to remember to put them in execution. I hope that He who granted 
vou to will, will give you grace to accomplish, and earnestly entreating God 
by my prayers, such as they^are, that He will bestow this grace upon 
you, I conclude by commending myself in the Lord and in my heart 
to your Lordship. 

Milan, Febr. 26, 1591. 

Your most affectionate Brother 
in our Lord, 

Aluigi Gonzaga, S. J. 1 ) 


To his Mother. 
Lady Mother. 

Pax Christi. 

It was a great consolation to me to distribute the clothes to these 
poor, our brothers. May our Lord God, Who does not leave unrewarded 
anyone who does an act of charity, give you large recompense and reward 
in the heavenly country after which I seem now to aspire more and more, 
and may He by His grace grant it to us and quickly, for I feel now 
my days shall be shortened. God give you every joy and I kiss your hand. 
Rome, Febr. 23, 1591. 

Your most obedient son in Christ 

Aluigi Gonzaga. 2 ) 


to his mother, April 5, 1591. See P. II, ch. 29, p. 227 and 
P. II, note 27, p. 386. 


to the same, June 10, 1591. See P. II, ch. 29, p. 228. 

1) Formerly kept in the Capellette of S. Stanislaus Kostka, at S. Andrea, Rome, 

2 ) In possession of Prof. lozzi. Written to thank his Mother for help during 
the distress and pestilence in Rome. (See p. 217.) 

Martyrs and Confessors 

of the English College, Rome, 

who attended lectures at the Roman College, when S. Aloysius 
was there; 1587-91. 

Ven. Edward Oldcorne, S. J., martyred at Worcester, 1606. 

Math. Kellison D. D., President of the English College, Douai 
1613 41. 

William Baldwin, S. J., Confessor. 

Ven. John Roberts, O. S. B., martyred at Tyburn, 1610. 

Richard Blount, S. J., First Provincial S. J. in England. 

Ven. Christopher Buxton, martyred at Canterbury, 1588. 

Ven. Edmund Duke, martvred at Durham icqo. 

William Flack, S. J. 

Ven. John Ingram, martyred at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1594. 

Ven. Eustace White, S. J., martyred at Tyburn, 1591. 

John Gerard, S. J., Confessor (entered the Society at Sant Andrea, 

Rome, with Father Oldcorne, Aug. 15, 1588.) 
Ven. Edward Thwing, martyred at Lancaster, 1600. 
Richard Banks, Confessor. 

Ven. Thomas Tichborne, martyred at Tyburn, 1602. 
George Smith, Confessor. 
Edward Coffin, S. J., Confessor. 

Ven. Joseph Lampton, martyred at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1593. 
John Percy, S. J., Controversialist. 
John Yate, S. J., Confessor. 
Michael and Edward Walpole, S. J. 
Ven. John Thules, martyred at Lancaster, 1616. 
John Sidgreaves, Carthusian. 
John Floyd, S. J., Controversialist. 

Table of Contents. 

Preface page XI 

Dedication by the brother of S. Aloysius to Pope Paul V. . . XV 
Dedication to the Signer Don Francis Gonzaga, Prince of the 

Empire XVII 

The Author to the pious Reader XIX 

Testimony given by four Reverend Fathers in Brescia concerning 
S. Aloysius, and this his Life, after having seen and com 
pared it with the Processes XXIII 

Claud Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus XXVII 

Part the first. 

Chap. I. Ancestry and birth page ^ 

II. S. Aloysius education, till he was seven 8 

III. S. Aloysius is taken to Florence by his father. There he 
makes a vow of virginity and progresses greatly in the 
spiritual life i* 

IV. S. Aloysius is recalled to Mantua and there makes up 

his mind to enter the Priesthood 22 

V. Return to Castiglione. He receives from God the gift 

of prayer and begins to frequent the Sacraments ... 24 

VI. S. Aloysius goes to Monferrato; he runs great danger 

on the way, and he determines to become a religious . 30 

VII. S. Aloysius returns with his father to Castiglione. He 
leads a most austere life and is saved almost miraculously 

in a fire 36 

VIII. S. Aloysius goes with the Marquis into Spain and the 

life he led there at court 45 

IX. S. Aloysius determines to enter the Society of Jesus, and 

makes known his vocation to his parents 50 

426 Table of Contents. 

Chap. X. S. Aloysius returns to Italy, and meets with trouble 

about his vocation . . . page 60 

XI. Aloysius has to bear new trials at Castiglione and at 

last obtains permission to enter the Society .... 63 

XII. S. Aloysius is sent on business to Milan, and what 

happened there 70 

XIII. The Emperor consents to the renunciation. The Saint 

again urged by his father, is again victorious .... 74 

XIV. S. Aloysius first goes to Mantua to make the Exercises, 

and then to Castiglione 78 

XV. S. Aloysius has to bear new trials from his father . . 83 
XVI. S. Aloysius renounces his Marquisate, and puts on the 

clerical dress 88 

XA^II. S. Aloysius bids good bye to all his friends, and goes 

to Rome. His entry into the Society ...... 92 

Part the second. 

I. The perfection with which S. Aloysius made his novi 
ciate 103 

II. How S. Aloysius acted on the death of his father . . 108 

III. Devotion of S; Aloysius to self-mortification, while he 

was a novice 110 

IV. S. Aloysius at the Professed House in Rome .... 1 1 8 
V. Testimony of Father Jerome Piatti with regard to S. 

Aloysius 120 

VI. The conduct of S. Aloysius at the Gesu 126 

VII. The perfection with which he performed the rest of his 

noviciate 130 

VIII. S. Aloysius remarkable gift of prayer 133 

IX. The great holiness of his Master of Novices. Aloysius 
endeavours to imitate his virtue. He goes with him to 

Naples, where he remains several months 139 

X. S. Aloysius visit to Naples and what he did there . . 143 
XI. S. Aloysius studies at the Roman College. His life and 

virtues there 151 

XII. He makes his vows and receives Minor Orders . . . 159 

XIII. The humility of S. Aloysius . 160 

XIV. The obedience of S. Aloysius 166 

Table of Contents. 427 

Chap. XV. The religious poverty of S. Aloysius page 1 7 1 

XVI. His purity and candour, his penances and mortifications. 173 
XVII. The great esteem in which S. Aloysius held the Spiri 
tual Exercices of S. Ignatius 177 

XVIII. S. Aloysius love of God and His neighbour ... 178 
XIX. S. Aloysius is sent to reconcile his brother the Marquis, 

with the Duke of Mantua 182 

XX. His manner of living in Castiglione and Mantua . . 190 

XXI. S. Aloysius succeeds completely in the family affairs. 195 
XXII. The edification S. Aloysius gave in the College at Milan 

during his stay there 202 

XXIII. Testimony of two Fathers to S. Aloysius who knew 

him in Milan 208 

XXIV. S. Aloysius approaching death is revealed to him. 

He is recalled to Rome, and returns thither . . . 210 

XXV. The consummate perfection of S. Aloysius .... 213 
XXVI. A pestilence spreads through Rome. S. Aloysius 

conduct during it 217 

XXVII. The last illness of S. Aloysius 220 

XXVIII. The lengthy illness of S. Aloysius and the many 

edifying events that occurred during it 222 

XXIX. Two letters which S. Aloysius wrote from his sick-bed 

to his mother 227 

XXX. The manner in which S. Aloysius prepared for death 229 

XXXI. His holy death 234 

XXXII. The funeral and burial of S. Aloysius 240 

Part the third. 

I. Letters written after the death of S. Aloysius ... 249 

II. Cardinal Bellarmine s remarkable testimony to S. Aloysius 254 
III. Miracles and favours wrought by the intercession of 

S. Aloysius 257 

The cultus of S. Aloysius after his death. 

I. Aloysius venerated by a Saint after his death ... 273 

II. S. Aloysius venerated by ecclesiastical bodies .... 276 

428 Table of Contents. 

Chap. III. After his death, Aloysius honoured by the catholic world page 280 
IV. The honour shown by Christian princes to S. Aloysius 

after his death 286 

V. The glory given to S. Aloysius by the Vicar of Christ 294 

VI. S. Aloysius honoured by God after his death. . . . 311 


Chronology of the Life of S. Aloysius 321 

Summary 324 


Notes to Part 1 329 

Notes to Part II 374 

Notes to Part III 394 

Notes to Appendix 397 

Letters of S. Aloysius Gonzaga 

arranged in chronological order .... 403 

Martyrs and Confessors of the English College, 1587 91 . . 423 



Acquaviva, Claud, General of the 

Boero, Joseph, S. J., 257. 
Bologna, 94. 

Society of Jesus, XIII, XXL 5"?^ Tiberius S " J" 2l8 
XXVII, 68, 78, 96, 217, 244, i Borlasca > Brother James, S. J., 186 

249, 266, 277, 362. 
Aliprandi, Ellen, 260. 
Alperio, Gaspar, S. J., in, 236, 


Andrea, Sant , on the Quirinal, No 
viciate of the S. J., 99, 139, 379. 
Angeli, Via degli, at Florence, 16, 


Angelis, de, Mutius, S. J., 232. 
Annunziata, Church of the, at Rome, 

245, 283, 38893. 
Annunziata, Church and Picture of, 

at Florence, 17, 404. 
Aragon, Donna Joanna de, Duchess 

of Tagliacozza, 379. 
Arrigoni, Canon, 278. 
Azor, John, S. J., 153. 

Baldinucci, Philip, 341. 

190, 191, 193. 
Borromeo, Charles, S., see Charles, S. 
Borromeo, Count Frederick, 363. 
Brera, College of S. J. at Milan, 10. 
Brescia, 193. 
Bresciani, Julius, 16. 
Budweis, 262. 
Bruno, Vincent, S. J., 136, 159, 211, 

232, 378. 


Carlini, Angela, 257. 

Carminata, John Baptist, S. J., 221. 

Casalmaggiore, 9, 338. 

Castiglione dello Stivere, XXI, 7, 
10, 12, 22, 24, 27, 30, 36, 42, 
61, 63, 82, 182, 183, 185, 188, 
190, 194, 196, 198, 199, 200, 
276, 280, 282, 285, 286, 329, 
332, 334, 336. 

Castel Goffredo, 194, 198, 260. 

Barberine, Convent of, Rome, 275. I Catherine, Infanta, wife of Charles 
Baltain, James, S. J. 267. Emanuel, Duke of Savoy, 61, 89, 

Beatilli, Antony, S. J., 149. 361. 

Bellarmine, Rob., Card., XII, XIII, j Cattaneo, Don Lewis, 92, 94, 95, 

XX, XXI, 12, 13, 125, 133, j 98, 109, 341. 

134, 164, 176, 184, 185, 216, | Celso, S., Madonna di, at Milan, 72. 

219, 220, 230, 231, 238, 254, ! Cepari, Virgil, S. J., XI, XII, 258, 

256- 261, 284, 249, 251. 

Bernerio, Cardinal, Jerome, O. P., Charles, S. Borromeo, 27, 348, 352, 

xm - 353- 



Christina, Duchess of Lorraine, 27, 

35 1 - 

Cigala, Vincent, S. J., 216. 
Clement VIII., 262. 
Clara Eugenia of Austria, daughter 

of Philip II., 45. 
Corbinelli, Lewis, S. J., 186, 224, 

Consolazione, Hospital della, Rome, 


Corso, Francis, S. J., 244. 
Cracow, 263. 
Croce, Lucius, S. J., 379. 
Croce, Monsignor, Bishop of Tivoli, 



Diego, Prince of the Asturias, son 
of Philip II., 46, 48, 49, 57, 355. 

Dietrichstein, Card., 242, 287. 

Disciplina, Church della, Castiglione, 

Doria, John Andrew, Admiral of 
Spain, 60. 


Eleanor of Austria, Duchess of Man 
tua 16, 69, 92, 184, 188, 250, 
252, 362. 

Elphinstone, George, 144, 381. 

Escurial, 57. 

Este, d , Alphonsus, Duke of Fer- 
rara, 93. 

Este, d , Margaret, Duchess of Ferrara, 
see Gonzaga. 


Fabii, Fabius de S. J., 244. 

Fabrini, Nicholas, S. J., 218,236,283. 

Fuccioli, Mutius, S. J., 233. 

Ferdinand II., Emperor, 291. 

Ferrara, 93. 

Ferrari, Camilla, 263. 

Fidele, San, Church of S. J., Milan, 

72, 77- 
Fiesole, 16. 

Filliucci, Vincent, S. J., 147. 
Fini, Claud, of Modena, O. P., 42. 
Flack, William, S. J., 266, 267, 423. 
Florence, 16 20, 94, 188, 311, 331, 

34149, 361, 418. 

Franciotti, Caesar, S. J., 155. 
Francis, S. Borgia, S. J., 379. 
Frascati, 181, 184. 


Gaetani, Benedict, 242. 

Gaetani, Philip, 242. 

Gagliardi, Achilles, S. J., 77, 209, 


Gesu, Rome, 97, 118. 
Ghent, Tertianship at, 266. 
Ghisoni, Clement, 16, 80, 109, 264. 
Giorgi, B. Abraham, 159. 
Giustiniani, Augustine, S. J. , 152, 


Giustiniani, Benedict, S. J., 152. 

Giustiniani, Cardinal, 264. 

Giustiniani, John, S. J., 264. 

Gonfalonieri, Bernardine, S. J., 244. 

Gonzaga, Aloysius, S. passim. 

Gonzaga, Aloysius Alexander, 362. 

Gonzaga, Alphonsus, Lord of Castel 
Goffredo, 8, 64, 194, 198, 260. 

Gonzaga, Barbara, Duchess of Man 
tua, 333. 

Gonzaga, Christian, brother of S. 
Aloysius, 356. 

Gonzaga, Cynthia, 262, 333. 

Gonzaga, Diego, brother of S. Aloy 
sius, 262, 356. 

Gonzaga, Ferrante, Marquis of Ca 
stiglione, father of S. Aloysius, 

3 5> 9> T 4> 15 22 > 36, 45. 46, 
66, 67, 68, 70, 7478, 10810, 

273- 330,. 34i, 35, 354, 355, 
357, 3 6 , 370, 374- 

Gonzaga, Francis, fourth Lord of 
Mantua, 374. 

Gonzaga, Francis, Marquis of Casti 
glione, brother of S. Aloysius. 82, 
183, 260, 262, 264, 356. 

Gonzaga, Hannibal, in religion Father 
Francis, O. S. F., XXII, 56, 58, 
60, no, 250, 278, 375. 

Gonzaga, Hercules, Card., 342. 

Gonzaga, Horace, Lord of Solferino, 
9, 182, 368. 

Gonzaga, Isabella, sister of S. Aloy 
sius, 45, 355. 

Gonzaga, Luigi, 336. 



Gonzaga, Margaret, Duchess d Este, Loretto, the Holy House of, 79, 94, 

93, 278. 

Gonzaga, Mark Antony, 368. 

Gonzaga, Martha, Marchioness of 
Castiglione, mother of S. Aloy- 
siu s, 3 ? 5 i5 45. 54, 183, 184, 
189, 227, 281, 344, 350, 343, 

Gonzaga, Prosper, XXII, 
350, 378. 


Ludovisi, Cardinal Lewis, 438. 
Lucca, Baths of, 15, 16, 350. 


Gonzaga, Rodolph, Marquis of Ca 
stiglione, 15, 1 6, 30, 45, 46, 57, 
60, 61, 68, 81, 100, 183, 189, 
198, 199, 200, 221, 260, 333, 
34i, 350, 356, 374, 376, 481- 

Gonzaga, Scipio, Card., 68, 85, 98, 
99, 117, 149, 152, 223, 236,250, 

Gonzaga, William, Duke of Mantua, 
8, 63, 79, 92, 182, 195, 376, 

Gonzaga, Vincent, Duke of Mantua, 
79, 91, 92, 262, 278, 287, 364. 

Gonzaga, Vincent, Cardinal, 84. 

Gregory XIV., 236. 

Guelfucci, Antony Francis, S. J., 
218, 232, 238, 240. 


Ignatius S., church of, at Rome, 8, 

Isabel Clara Eugenia of Austria, 

daughter of Philip II, 45, 288. 


James, S., Knights of, 360. 
Janninck (Janning), Com-., S. J., 267. 
Janthynsky, John, 268. 

Madrid, 46, 356, 358. 
i Maggio, Laurence, S. J., 242. 
22, 91, I Malavolta, Prosper, S. J., 38, 352. 
Mancini, Thos., 252. 

Mancini, Serarma, 22, 78, 89 92, 
1 88, 193, 258, 394. 

Mantua, Hohenzollern, see Gonzaga, 

Mantua, Duchess Barbara of, 331. 

Mantua, Duchess of, see Medici, Elea 
nor de . College, 364. 

Mantua, Festival at, 280, 288. 

Mantua, The Madonna of (Ma 
donna delle Grazie), 109, 374. 

Mantua, Duke William of, see Gon 
zaga, William. 

Mary of Austria, Empress of Austria, 
45> 352. 

Mary, S. , Franciscan Convent of, 
near Castiglione, 66. 

Mary Magdalen, S., of Pazzi, 258, 
275, 276, 349. 

Mary de Medici, see Medici. 
I Margaret of Austria, 288. 

Marseilles, 3^4. 

Martini, Martin, S. J., 233. 

Mastrilli, Gregory, S. J., 212. 

Mattrioli, Frances, 259. 

Maximilian, Emanuel, Prince Elector 
of Bavaria, 292. 

Medici, , S. J., 187-208. 

Medici, Ferdinand de , Grand Duke 
of Tuscany, 287. 

Japanese. Ambassadors to Rome, 79. Medici, Francis de , Grand Duke 

Julius II., 330. 


Lady, Our, of Good Counsel, Picture 

of, at Madrid, 54, 359. 
Lambertini, John, S. J., 236, 388. 
Lancisius, Nicholas, S. J., 244. 
Lateran, S. John, 159. 
Lewis, S., O. S. F., 239. 
Loarte, Gaspar, S. J., 348. 

of Tuscany, 16, 341. 
Medici, Mary de , afterwards Queen 

of France, 16. 

Milan, 34, 70,71, 199,200,20321 1. 
Mondovi, Cardinal of, (Lauri, Vincent,) 


Monferrato, 15, 30. 
Montserrat, 354. 
Myszkovsky, Sigismund, Marquis of 

Myrow, 262. 

43 2 



Naples, 143, 146151. 
Nazarius and Celsus, S. S., Church 
of, at Castiglione, 8, 192, 333, 352. 


Orlandini, Nicholas, S. J., XX. 
Orsini, Julius, 242. 


Paglia, River, 410. 
Pamfili, Jerome, Card. XII. 
Panigarola, Francis, O. S. F., 361. 
Papebrock, David, S. J., 267. 
Pasqualini, Brother Michael Angelo, 

S. J., 80. 

Passionei, Lelius, S. J., 80, 341. 
Pastorio , Monsignor John James, 

parish priest of Castiglione, 8, 65, 

Pastorio, Prosper, Major-domo to 

Princess Bibiana, 284, 285. 
Paterno, Ferdinand, S. J., 46, 341, 


Paul V., 279, 282, 285. 
Pernstein, Bibiana, Marchioness of 

Castiglione, 333. 
Pernstein, Maximilian, 242. 
Pescatore, John Baptist, S. J., 98, 

139 H3 : 44> J 46, 232, 341. 
Petroceni, Dr. Sallust, of Castiglione, 


Petrozzari, Tullius, 196, 382. 
Piatti (Platus), Jerome, S. J., XX, 

XXI, 120, 128, 164, 233, 339, 


Platus, Jerome, S. J. see Piatti. 
Portici, 147. 


Ranuzio (Farnese), Duke of Parma, 


Realini, Ven. Bernardine d. J., 381. 
Recalcati, Bartholemew, S. J., 203, 


Reggio, Charles, of Palermo, 363. 
Ricci, Bartholomew, S. J., 140. 
Rodolph II., Emperor, 45, 287. 
Rome, 96, 144, 151, 213. 

Roman College, 151, 164. 

Romano, Basil, S. J., 265. 

Rosignoli, Bernardine, S. J., 155, 
211, 213, 220, 244. 

Rovere, Jerome de la, afterwards 
Cardinal, I, 62, 129, 152, 171 
1 86, 223, 224, 249, 250, 333. 


Sa, Emmanuel, S. J., 142. 
Salombrini, Brother Augustine, S. J., 


Sanclemente, William, 262. 
Sasso, Church of, 318. 
Savoy, Duke of, 61, 288. 
Sebastian, S., Palace of, at Mantua. 
Sienna, 212. 

Sillesdon (Bedingfield), Edward, 266. 
Sixtus V., Pope, 96. 
Solferino, Castle of, 182, 183, 196. 
Spinelli, Antony, S. J., 244. 
Striverio, S. J., 263. 


Tamburelli, Darius, S. J., 218. 
Tana family, the, 330. 
Tana, Hercules of Chieri, 62. 
Tiratojo or cloth-weavers factory, 343. 
Torre, della, Francis, S. J., 20, 341, 


Tortona, 27. 
Turco, Peter Francis, XXI, n, 16, 

82, 92, 339> 349- 


Ubaldini, Jerome, S. J., 179, 341. 
Ugolotti, Sylvester, O. P., 281. 


Valentino, Antony, S. J., 80, 341. 

Valle, Paul, S. J., 152. 

Valois, Isabel de, Queen of Philip II. 

of Spain, 4. 

Valtrino, Antony, S. J., XX, 243. 
Vasquez, Gabriel, S. J., 46, 152, 

156, 382. 
Vitelleschi, Mutius, S. J., 120, 142, 



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etc., especially for all the modern pro 
cesses for graphic reproduction. 

8. Phototype. Transfer on zinc of all 
kinds of designs, either in line work 
or stippling by a photographic process, 
in the original dimensions, or increa 
sed, diminished, for the purpose of 
obtaining plates for typography. 

9. Autophototype. Transfer on zinc 
of designs, either in colours or stam 
ped of photographes , paintings, in 
short, of copies tinted by photogra 
phy, to obtain half-toned plates for 

10. Chromotypography. Production of 
plates for multicoloured typography, 
tor cheap chromos in a few colours, 
intended to be printed in great quan 

11. Photolithography. Production of 
lithographic and chromolitographic 
stones, from originals in line, stip 
pling or tinted , in the same size 

or other sizes, by means of photo 

12. Heliotype. Production by means of 
photography of glass or zinc plates, 
intended for typographical printing, 
from all kinds of copies or drawings 
in line or stippling ; imitation of pho 
tography. This process is particularly 
well suited to delicate work, even of 
considerable size, only requiring a 
small number of copies, like diplo 
mas, etc. 

13. Photogravure. Production by means 
of photography and aqua-fortis of pla 
tes for printing in copper-plate from 
copies in line or stippling. 

14. Heliogravure. Production by means 
of photography of plates of the finest 
grained plates engraved with aqua 
fortis, from tinted copies of all kinds 
for printing in copper-plates. This pro 
cess insures the softness of the pho 
tograph with the clearness and preci 
sion of the engraving on copper, and 
it is suitable to the finest work, where 
many copies are not required. 

special branch, both with regard to 
cost and also on account of the speed 
with which orders can be executed. 

We would call attention , specially 
to our large editions ol prayer-books, 
to illustrated and non-illustrated edi 
tions of classical works, and to mu 
sical pamphlets, etc. We make use of 
every available means to produce su 
perb editions in nearly every language. 

5. Printing in oopper-plate, with 8 
steam and hand-presses, suitable both 
for the large and small size. We par 
ticularly recommend this branch which 
has been specially developped, with a 
view to the more or less important 
printing of steel engravings. It is to 
this technical department of our esta- 
blisment that the printing of the Fe 
deral banknotes has been entrusted. 

6. Lithographic and chromolitho- 
graphic printing with 8 steam - 
presses, some of them of the largest 
size, 12 hand-presses, several glazing 
and calendering machines, with all 
the accessory machinery of modern 
construction. Besides the printing of 
our stock articles, from the miniature 
chromos of the most delicate kind to 
the largest oleographs and imitation 
of works of art, this branch of our 
industry is executed under the most 
favourable conditions and at the short 
est notice , orders connected with 
ordinary trade at well as those con 
nected with works of art. Coloured 
pictures for pilgrimages, etc. 

7. Heliotype printing with 2 presses 
and all their appliances. 

8. Bookbinding studios on the lar 
gest scale with 80 machines and an 
embossing machine with 15 presses, 
both steam and hand worked. Every 
work-involved in bookbinding, from the 
simplest pamphlet to the most magnifi 
cent publications is executed on the pre 
mises. This branch offers singular ad 
vantages with regard to the elegant and 
durable rebinding of whole editions, 
and at prices which defy competition. 

9. manufacture of Rosaries, both 
by hand and machine. 


The articles now sold at our Establishment include religious articles, 
literary and artistic productions, which form our general library stock, as 
well as Catholic pictures and church ornaments and furniture, statues, stain 
ed glass windows, etc. 

In order to facilitate business transactions we offer beautifully illustrated 
Catalogues gratis, of which we give a list below. 

SJ** Correspondence in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, ecc, 
Telegraphic Address: BENZIGERCO, EINSIEDELN. 

I. Literary Publications of the firm itself. 

Prayer books and devotional works in more than 400 different texts, 
from the best authorized editions, suitable to people of all ages and conditions in 
English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Romany, Croate and Latin, all with 
Episcopal approbation, from the plainest to the most elaborate editions, both as regards 
composition, printing, paper and binding. 

Theological Publications. Theological works, and those on Ecclesiastical 
history, collections of sermons, etc. 

Sacred Music. Masses, Antiphons, Litanies, Graduals, Vespers Requiems 
Hymns, etc. 

Books of devptional reading for Catholic Families, richly illustrated 
works for family reading with numerous Episcopal approbations. 

Illustrated books for the young and for family use, great choice. 

School books. Illustrated singing books, writing copies, maps for hang 
ing up, etc. 

Small illustrated Bible for school or family use, in 12 languages, 
English, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Breton, Romany, Hun- 

Earian, Sclavonich and Polish, honoured by an authograph letter from His Holiness 
eo XIII, and by the approbation and commendation of several Bishops. 

The Christian Family Almanach, established for half a century and 
now publised in 4 different languages. 

The .Old and New World." The oldest and best known monthly illus 
trated publication, in circulation amongst German Catholics, and now in the 25 th 
year of its existence. 

II. Assorted library of foreign books. 

We procure to order any of the works of foreign Catholic authors and editors 
on theology, asceticism, philosophy, philology, natural science, medicine, jurisprudence, 
economy, history, the fine arts, geography, travels, maps, atlasses, readings for the 
people and for the young, magazines, literary reviews, etc, 

No. 1. Complete Catalogue of all our ou-n Publications. - No. 6. Catalogue of books in 
foreign languages. No. 6. Catalogue of prayer books and book of deration, and of instructive 
and amusing ,tvorks for young people. - No. 7. Illustrated Catalogue of devotional works for 
family use. Works of art. Popular illustrated works suitable for birthday gifts. No. 8. Cata 
logue of Sacred Music. - No. 10 Catalogue of liturgical and theological works. 

I. Pictures of our own publication. 

The firm takes particular care to choose subjects worthy to form religious and 
devotional pictures. A great number of Catholic artists of the highest class assist 
them in their undertaking, and great care is taken to confide the production of the 
plates to well-known engravers, who shall be able to understand and give them 
their true meaning. Their collection of designs for copper-plate printing, which have 
always been well received, includes 70O small religious subjects in 5 different sizes, 
which in white and black or in colour, on embossed or on beautiful lace cards, are 
in demand all over the Christian world. Also a considerable number of religious 
engravings in large size. 

The chromolithograph pictures finding so much favour particularly with young 
people, our firm decided to make use of the same process for religious images as 
well as for the faithful reproduction of noted sacred pictures. 

There are now ready a large selection of small pictures in chromo, more than 
800 chromos of medium size, amongst ivhich is an entire series of the old masters 
of different schools, besides more than 100 sheets of oleographs of large size, 

Besides this collection, and the ordinary religious emblems, there are small 
pictures with illuminated text, religious subjects with figures, little pictures of patron 
saints, etc. Our establisment produces all the folloving ^specialites* : 

Altar Cards. 

Souvenirs Of Baptism, Confession, First Communion, Confirmation, Ordi 
nation ati l Marriage. 

Mortuary Cards, for which our magnificent designs in copper-plate have 
long found favour. 

Photographic portraits, life-size and cheap, as remembrances of the 
departed. (See Catalogue No. 16.) 

Carts of congratulation, condolence, correspondence, ornamented 
with flowers, religious subjects, etc. 

Images for Confraternities, Diplomas of the 3 rd Order, House 
hold blessing, etc. 

II. Stock of foreign selection of art subjects. 

Great choice of Sacred Art designs of the best known publishers. We supply 
at once every novelty in Christian art as it appears. 

No. 11. Complete Catalogue of Pictures of our own edition. - No. 15. Complete Catalogue 
of cfiromos and oleographs, large and medium size, with or without frames. No. 16. Catalogue 
of portraits life size. - No. 18. Catalogue of small Pictures in copper-plate. - No. 19 Cata 
logue of mourning Pictures and condolence cards. 

BVP* Sample parcels sent at cost price. 


Rosaries. Manufactured on a large scale, from the cheapest to the most 

Crosses and Medals. From the simplest for pilgrimages, confraternities, etc., 
up to the commemorative Medals, most artistically engraved. 

Scapulars of every kind. Articles for missions, pilgrimages and other 
devotional objects, 

No. 25. Catalogue of religious objects, rosaries, etc. with 150 illustrations. 

Various selections of samples of rosaries sent at cost price. 


Church furniture and Ornements. Chalices, ciboriums, ostensoriums. 
pixes, etc., candlesticks, candelabras, lamps, etc. 

Vestments. Chasubles, copes, dalmatics, stoles, veils, etc. 

Altar linen warranted pure linen. Corporals, Purificators, finger clothes. 
Altar and communion clothes. 

Banners for confraternities and Flags for societies, embroidered more or 
less elaborately. 

Statues of Christ and the Saints, in carton-romain, carton-pierre, terra 
cotta, wood, bronze, marble, etc., variously ornamented. 

Altar Candles, paschal candles, warranted pure wax. 

Stations of the Cross. In oleograph, on canvas or sheet-iron, and monu 
mental high-relievo. 

Cribs and accompanying figures for family or church use. 

Altars, pulpits, confessionals, communion rails, prie-Dieu, baptismal fonts, 
holy water stoups, canopies, brackets, baldaquinos, alms boxes, etc. 

Organs and harmoniums of perfect tone. 

Altar pictures and banners, executed according to the means of the 

Stained Glass-Windows, painted windows, etc. (See Catalogue N. 27.) 

No. 27. Complete Catalogue of stained glas. - No. 34. Catalogue of statues most in 
request. No. 36. Catalogue of Stations of the Cross. No. 37. Catalogue of Cribs. - No. 38. Ca 
talogue of banners, altar pictures and banner pictures. - No. 39. Catalogue of Chasubles, or 
naments. - No. 40. Catalogue of sacred vessels. No. 41. Catalogue of ornamental lamps, 
chandeliers, brackets, etc. 

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